Friday, March 28, 2008

Going Green

Green seems to be everywhere. It is the color of the Girl Scouts and Kappa Delta. Being married to Morgan, our house has a lot of Irish green. Lately we have been trying to be more environmentally green. We've bought energy star appliances and the aluminum water bottles that are supposed to be so much better than plastic.

A few weeks ago we gathered all the tote bags I have from conferences and a few (green) bags we bought in Australia and Ireland, where they charge you for plastic bags. We keep the bags in the trunk and use them at the grocery store. The amount of plastic Publix bags we have cut out of our lives is impressive! I feel good about myself each time I shop with my own bags! Try it!

And now for a different kind of green...

Last week I found a bag of Indiana Jones Mint Crisp Green & White M&M's. Morgan gave up sweets for Lent, so I bought them for him for Easter. We decided to use the M&M's to make Deceptively Delicious cookies. (They are cookies with chick peas mixed in.) The cookies are a bit cakey, but you cannot tell it is chick peas. It was Morgan's idea to make the cookies a second time, so they must not be that bad!

Well I mixed together the ingredients and had to laugh. The color from the M&M's made the cookie dough GREEN!

They were Shrek green. Morgan was trying to prepare the lamb, and I was making green cookies. The color faded a little after baking, but it was still quite funny. (I've used Photoshop Elements to change the backgrounds, but I did not alter the color of the cookies!)

My family humored me and ate them anyway. That is true love!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Morgan's Radio Show

Morgan and one of his co-workers have a weekly radio show. They discuss a little bit of financial aid/university happenings and a lot of everything else. There is usually a trivia question - you can win a t-shirt with Trev's & Morg's pictures on the back!

Just in case you are online today (Tuesday) at 12 noon Florida time, 4pm Irish Time, the Trev's & Morg's Radio show will be live and online...

Click on the link below to view and listen to the show!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunrise

We'd arranged to go the the Easter Sunrise Mass with our friends John and Laura. Last night as the skies opened up we all looked at the weather reports and it said it would rain until Monday. John and Laura were not going to chance it this year. Morgan and I set an alarm and said we would see what the weather looked like when we got up.

During Mass the priest said that he did not have an umbrella and he hoped that none of us did - o ye of little faith! It was a bit cloudy, but we had sunrise Mass on the beach. It is such a nice way to celebrate!

While the sunrise was not as impressive as it has been in years past, it really is something special! I love the feel of the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves crashing as I listen to the word of God! (It is worth getting up early for!)

We are back home now and Morgan has gone off this morning with Dave to see the Liverpool/Man U game. The game is not on TV, so he has to find a place to watch it. This is a big deal. Dave is a Man U fan - this can either end very well or...I don't even want to think about it! Last year we came home to find a Man U poster on our front door. (Which was returned slightly vandalized) Liverpool needs this win!

We are having Easter dinner for eight (GB, GB, Uncle Lee, Colleen, Amy, & her boyfriend Juan) this afternoon. Morgan had his heart set on cooking lamb, but no one else really eats lamb, so we decided to do both lamb and ham. (Try repeating that to all the family) After some adventures in buying ham, we are on track for an Easter feast.

I have the tables set up with new tablecloths I found when cleaning. I am off to to take down the good china and bake Deceptively Delicious chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas. I feel blessed!

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lent and a Good Friday

I read a great article in the Florida Catholic a few weeks ago about how so many of us are trying to do too much. It was called Memo to Marthas: ‘There is need of only one thing’ and I was drawn to it because Martha is my confirmation name. It couldn't have come at a better time!

By the end of January, I was rather run down. We went to Ireland for a wedding in October and I returned home to have knee surgery two weeks later. I was still going to physical therapy two times a week when Grandma Jo went into the hospital. After we got back from Christmas in Ireland, the month of January was blur. Mom was here for all but 4 days in January. Grandma Jo passed away on January 29. Together with Uncle Ken and Mom, we had to pack up her apartment and take care of things.

As February began, our house was a mess. We were tired and worn out. It was rough going. As Lent began, I tried to think of something to "give up." I felt like I was out of things to give. In the past few years though, Morgan and I have tried to take on a new habit instead of giving something up for Lent. We've heard many homilies on the topic.

At about the same time, I read Heather's blog about FlyLady. I was quite skeptical, but I signed up for the e-mails and I shined my sink. The February "new habit" was decluttering for 15 minutes a day. When we were done emptying my Grandmother's apartment, I could barely walk into my house - decluttering really made a difference.

So I decided that for Lent this year I would clean my house. Not just 'good enough to get by' clean, but 'not hiding anything' clean. I gave myself Easter as a target. We even have offered to have Easter dinner at our house. My grandparents and Colleen are planning on joining us.

My morning routines are in place - I do a load of laundry a day so that is now under control. We plan menus and put the mail and the dishes away without letting them pile up. The Christmas lights we put on the verandas have finally been taken down. The FlyLady is great - I have recommended it to several friends! Morgan laughs about it, but I think secretly he is a fan.

Life got hectic and things piled up on us. Like the article I felt like there were too many balls in the air and it was a matter of time before things fell apart. This Lent I have learned to stay focused and become more of a single task-er. I am back to my lists and am taking things one step at a time. It really has been a renewing experience.

On a lighter note, there is nothing more renewing than a day off work. Morgan and I have had a nice day. We went to an outdoor live Stations of the Cross and then ran errands. Morgan grilled fish for us tonight and we have finalized our menu for Sunday. Now we are going to make the finishing touches on the downstairs and watch a movie. Things are good!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Congratulations to my mom!

My mom called tonight to tell us that she got a big promotion today! I am so proud of her. She is now in charge of the whole branch. She is a nurse and only recently went from being in the field to being a manager. She is quite good at what she does! Way to go Momma!

My brother got back home early this morning. I guess that means Mom will have a U-Haul full of things to go through this weekend to celebrate her promotion!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sun, Palm Trees, and a St. Patrick's Day Parade

This afternoon was the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Our group was much smaller this year! With Lyndsay and Sue both unable to come, a much smaller group of us kept the tradition going! (We even wore the required shade of green!) Morgan and I ran into Dave and Jodi on Atlantic Avenue. We hadn't seen them in a while, so it was great to catch up!

We met across from the Blue Anchor (as always) to enjoy the parade. There was a little bit of everything! Afterwards we went to the Blue Anchor where Jodi and I caught up while the two Irishmen watched the soccer game. It is an English pub, but the food was okay so we put up with it.

Jason just called. He and his girlfriend should finally get here in the next hour or so. They decided to take I-95 down instead of the Turnpike. I think it cost him a tank of gas to avoid paying the toll. I'll blame it on a lack of sleep!

Morgan and the cats are all taking an afternoon nap. I'm thinking that I may go join them. The patio swing is calling my name!

Friday, March 14, 2008

All Kinds of Everything

We are just home for the night. This is an abnormal Friday night! We are usually asleep by now. There was a concert at St. Joan by Dana, a Catholic singer from Ireland. Morgan had no interest in going, but the Confirmation class had a block of seats together so we went to join our class. Thankfully two of our students showed up. (Although I think they may be a couple and it may have been a middle school 'date' - he did slip his arm over her shoulders as the lights dimmed)

She sang several songs we knew which was nice. (All Kinds of Everything is the song she won the Eurovision contest with and the song that Morgan has started to sing any time anyone says her name!) During intermission though sneaky 'arm over the shoulder guy' said he didn't know any of the songs - it seemed to him that they were songs that old people knew. I had to laugh because Morgan and I sang along with all the Irish songs. He quickly retracted the comment and assured us that we were not the old people he meant!

Morgan managed to do a 3 mile fun run in the rain after work and still get to the concert by just after 6:30. After coming straight from work, we were ready for food by the time Dana finished! We stopped at Red Lobster before heading home.

My brother and his girlfriend are on their way to my house right now. They started the 19 hour drive this evening (a day earlier than expected) and anticipate getting in tomorrow afternoon. (Jason drives a bit faster than the rest of us!) Morgan and I are going to tidy up the guest room in the morning, but we had to chuckle. There was one thing we hadn't thought about.

Grandma Jo's remains live in the guest room. We do not really have anywhere else in the house for them to go. We are going to eventually spread her ashes at the lake by her apartment, but we are waiting until all of the family can get together to do that. For now GJo watches over my shoulder as I type. I haven't told Jason that he and his girlfriend are staying in GJo's room. I can't wait to see the look on his face! I guess that is one way to be sure they behave!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Morgan!

Today is Morgan's 30th birthday! He is on the phone with his sister in Ireland now. Thankfully the clocks there have not changed so the time difference is only 4 hours now. Two siblings called last night at 8pm because it was already March 12th in Ireland. I think he has talked to 3 sisters and one brother - just one left to go.

As I cleaned this week I found some window chalk that I think my father gave me years ago. I got the idea to write birthday wishes with it. My first plan was to write on the windows outside, but I couldn't manage it this morning. At the last minute I wrote birthday wishes on the mirrored closet doors. I sent Morgan upstairs to get my cell phone as we dashed out the door this morning. I actually had the phone in my purse but wanted him to see the notes. He shouted down that he couldn't find it so I told him to look by my side of the bed. He dialed my phone and discovered that it was in my purse downstairs. As he walked down the stairs he confessed that he thought I might have had a birthday surprise waiting for him upstairs! He missed it completely! I told him it was the best I could do and he went back upstairs to discover the messages. I'd said before that he is not the most observant person, but that was something else!

We are about to grill some steaks and head over to our friends' house. Lyndsay is pregnant with twins and on bed rest. Morgan and Dave share a birthday (although Morgan is the younger of the two), so we said we would bring over the dinner. So I guess I will make that "Happy Birthday Morgan & Dave!"

Monday, March 10, 2008

7 Random Facts

I am not sure why 7 is the magic number, but I'll play along too. I had Scouts tonight so I had time to think driving to and from Ft. Lauderdale!

1. I met my husband at summer camp.
It is not as crazy as it sounds, but Morgan and I met working at Kampus Kampers/ Pine Tree Camps. We are one of at least 8 camp romances that are now Mr. & Mrs. (with at least one Mr. & Mr.)!

2. I have been a Girl Scout for 21 years.
I started as a Brownie in first grade and have been involved since. I have been a troop leader, cookie 'mom,' camp counselor, etc. Lately one meeting a month as an OGF advisor is enough!

3. Our house is decorated with pictures we've taken on our travels.
We have framed many of our favorite travel photos and have them up around the house. Here are some of my favorites:

4. Morgan and I teach 8th Grade Confirmation Classes.
We thought it would be nice to teach CCD so we volunteered thinking we would get a nice elementary class. Instead for the second year in a row we have the Confirmation class. We enjoy it, but it is a challenge! Every time we start to question if we want to continue the Holy Spirit steps in and reminds us that it is worth it - a student thanking us, a dove landing on the car get the idea!

5. I am very organized electronically, but cannot file a paper to save my life!
All of my electronic files are organized neatly into folders. I can find what I need quickly and easliy. Paper is another story. (I am working on this -more on that later!)

6. Beware of the Hiccups!
I have a reputation for curing my students' hiccups with a scare. I started during student teaching. My class thought it was fun. While subbing I made a kindergartner cry doing this and swore off the scare. That is until the same student was brought to me a few weeks later asking to have the hiccups scared out of her! Each year my current class writes a note to my next class. They always write, "Beware of the hiccups!"

7. My favorite animals are sheep, giraffes, and frogs.
This is a bit lame, but I need to go to bed so it will have to do. When Morgan and I were doing the long distance thing he always sent me pictures of old "traditional" Ireland. Thatched roofs, sheep, etc. He gave me a sheep that sings, "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" that I used to play when I missed him. My in-laws have kept up the sheep thing. I even put up a bulletin board at school this month with word problems titled, "There is more to 3rd Grade than Counting Sheep."

I am not sure where the giraffe thing came from, but I spent at least an hour at the Sydney Zoo trying to get a picture of the giraffes with the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge in the background. They are just such odd animals!

My school persona collects frogs. I created Finn & Fran - world traveling frogs. They have traveled to over 15 countries and Lord only knows how many states. They send my class mail and have even been featured on a local news station. Needless to say, I have been given frogs galore! My favorite is a frog tape dispenser!

So there you have it - 7 random things about me!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What to do...

I am stuck! I have a history of giving Morgan the perfect gift. Each year I come up with something - not expensive, but just right. I flew to Ireland for his 25th birthday and brought with me 25 little gifts. This Christmas I made a mistake - he got everything he wanted! There is nothing left!

He is not exactly thrilled about turning 30, and I have NO IDEAS at all! His dream was to go to New York for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. With my students taking the state tests the next two weeks and a large property tax bill just paid, that just can't happen this year. Then he asked me today if there was someone from Ireland coming out to surprise him. He is going to be so disappointed!

To make matter worse I have a history of leading him to believe that I have nothing and then surprising him with something great. So he doesn't believe me when I say I am not sure what to do! I have until Wednesday to come up with something...

This is a picture from Morgan's surprise party in Ireland in December. We did it early so that his family could be there.

I'll Give it a Shot

I'll give Rachel credit for this. I have enjoyed reading her blog and from there I found links to a number of others. I love reading about your cute little families. Then Shannon mentioned blogging in her Christmas letter, so I bookmarked that one as well. I have enjoyed keeping up with everyone's lives. So here goes...

(The quick summary)

I live in South Florida with a very charming Irishman named Morgan.

We have no children (yet) but we adopted Rafa last April. (Adopted on the condition that he be named for the Liverpool FC Manager.)

We have recently taken in Moses, my Grandma Jo's cat. He and Rafa really are the best. My boys make me so happy!