Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vote for Brandon

One of my favorite bloggers is Don. Don's brother Brandon is currently involved in a music showcase and contest. Don, being the proud older brother is directing our attention to his brother's talent. And, once I listened for myself I could hear why. Brandon has a voice that should be heard!

PLEASE, PLEASE, take a moment and take a listen.
Brandon has written and submitted: "Thine Own Son"

You can read a little about Brandon,
and hear the other song he has posted, "Bring Me Home"
which is every bit a wonderful as the song he has entered in the contest.

Then, please register (it is free!) and VOTE for Brandon Osmond.

Please - go now, listen and vote for Brandon Osmond's "Thine Own Son" And, if you are so compelled, go back every day and vote again. It would mean so much to me for you to listen and cast your vote for Brandon. His voice is amazing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankgiving Traditions

Every household has it's own traditions for the Holiday season. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love the warmth of the time the family shares enjoying each other's company. I love the laughter and the happiness. I love the traditions of recipes which have been handed down and shared from one family member to the next.

Our family gathers around the table to share a delicious meal which includes a turkey stuffed with my mother in law's stuffing which she learned how to make from her Mother's recipe. It is fragrant and delightful. I am not sure what we enjoy more, the turkey or the stuffing .... hmm!

Irene taught me the recipe about 12 years ago, and I have to say, I love it. I love eating it, and I love to prepare it. We hand grind the onions, celery and old fashioned white bread together and then blend in sage sausage, eggs, chicken broth and a combination of spices including ground sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Last year, Manda prepared the entire turkey dinner; from refrigeration to cleaning and preparing the fresh Zacky Farms turkey, to making the stuffing and placing the bird in the oven to proudly serving us a meal which had been roasted to perfection. Every bite of the meal she prepared for us was a delight to our taste buds.

The 18 pound turkey came out juicy and tender, stuffing bursting with flavor, moist and dense, each layer of flavor full and vibrant. Her mashed potatoes were thick and creamy, fragrant with fresh ground garlic and topped with real butter and a dash of pepper. Manda created a gravy using the turkey drippings and the meat from the neck and innards, which she had carefully ground into small pieces. It was delicious! The yams were baked with just a touch of brown sugar and butter, their sweetness a refreshing partner to the vibrancy of the stuffing.

Yum! My stomach is already growling.... and it is not even lunch time!

One of the other things we always take the time to do during the holiday season is to reflect on all the reasons we have to be thankful:

I am thankful for the love of my family and friends, our health and happiness, and the joy we share. I am thankful that in these tough and uncertain times, there are family and friends to seek comfort and understanding in. I am thankful for the sound of laughter and the sight of a smile. I am thankful that I am getting to know new friends and fellow bloggers and appreciate that you each share your wisdom and sense of humor with me. I am honored.

I hope you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008


.............. was simply AMAZING!

That is all I have to say ...........


Well, okay, I do have more to say, but for those two or three people who have yet to see (or read) this amazing story ~ I'll keep my mouth shut and let them discover what they are missing.

Special "Thanks!" to the wonderful group of teens I had the pleasure of sharing my movie viewing pleasure with. Each one of you is an awesome person, and I really enjoyed our excursion to the theater!

Amanda, Brittani, Tori, Brandon, Morgan, and Madison --- these teens know how to make every moment a hilarious one. Thanks, guys!

I'm a Bella! I found out through Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!

Check out this great site for more Twilight fun:
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Anyone who has pets will really like this.

You'll like it even if you don't, and you may even decide you need one!

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named Lucky. Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy.

Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing. Mary or Jim would go to Lucky 's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky ' s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease.... in fact, she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky.

A thought struck her ... what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary 's dog through and through.

'If I die, Lucky will be abandoned ' , Mary thought. ' He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. '

The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death. The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated,and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks.

Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable. Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom.

Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned!

While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement, bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love. Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day.

It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box, but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember ... live every day to the fullest And never forget ... the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care for us.

With thanks to my wonderful Mom for sharing this treasure with me! And, with special thanks to Lisa and Carrie for keeping Miss Tapping Toes doing cartwheels of joy! You ladies are a true treasure!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All Rise!

Here comes the judge .....

Manda had the pleasure of being a defense attorney for Teen Peer Court last night.

Her case was a tough one that centered around a 16 year old Hispanic male who had been charged with battery for pushing his mother and punching is father. While Manda's client speaks English, his comprehension and use of it is limited. Neither the father or mother speak English; the primary language spoken in the home is Spanish and of course, Manda is only learning Spanish in high school. Luckily the client's 18 year old sister speaks fluent Spanish and has a decent command of the English language so she was able to assist with translations during the deposition portion of this case.

Manda's 16 year old client was charged with battery of his parents which occurred when the mother refused to allow her son to take the family car. The client pushed his mother and stormed past her into the family apartment where a verbal argument ensued. The father who was outside at the time of the argument came inside to resolve the issue, and unfortunately, was unable to do anything but make matters worse.

The 16 year old client ended up punching his father several times, and when ordered to leave the apartment and never come back, he picked up an orange from a nearby counter and threw it at the back of the father's head. Further argument ensued, and random items of clothing and boxes were also thrown at the father by the son, and at the son by the father.

When the 16 year old refused to leave, a member of the family called 911 for assistance. The 16 year old left the premises before the law enforcement agency arrived on scene. Neither parent required medical assistance, but they did elect to press the charge of battery against their son.
It was noted that earlier in the day both the father and the son had been drinking beer outside.
The father had drank 4 beers, the son 2. The 16 year old client who had left the family home was gone for nearly 48 hours before returning.

Since this time there have been no further incidents, and the family is trying to move forward and get past this trouble. (talking to Amanda it seems there are other issues and "things" which the family needs assistance with, and this incident is actually fairly minor in the grand scheme of their every day life.)

The prosecuting attorney asked for the following penalty to be assigned to the 16 year old:

8 times served on the jury
40 hours of community service
AA meetings

the prosecuting attorney felt that the 16 year old needed severe punishment to learn his lesson and change his behaviour.

Amanda asked for the following penalty and assistance to be assigned to the 16 year old:

2 times served on the jury
20 hours of community service
Anger Management Counselling
6 months of AA meetings
Family Counselling

As the defense attorney and being privileged to know more of their inside story, Manda felt the family could better benefit from a direct assistance approach, and that counselling and AA meetings would be more beneficial to the future of this family.

The jury found the following penalty to be appropriate:

2 times served on the jury (one for each parent he had physical contact with)
20 hours of community service (10 hours for each parent he struck)
Family Counselling
Anger Management
6 months AA meetings

When questioned by the Judge on their determination of the penalty and why they chose the exact penalty as requested by the defense, the jury replied:
"People make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are not made by one person. Sometimes the family is the reason. This family seems to need help, and if the defendant is punished too firmly, he made decide to rebel and get into more trouble."

Additionally, the director of the Teen Peer Court program instructed that the 16 year old client (who incidentally turned 17 today) do the following:

get a job
get a driver's license (or stop driving)
take a parenting class (he has an 18 month old daughter)

Amanda and her mentor attorney felt like their client received what was needed to hopefully re-direct him onto a better path of choices.

Unfortunately, only time will tell.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Manda's birthday ...

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Amanda,
Happy Birthday to you!

Dad and I hope your 16th birthday is sweet, and your day is full of everything that is happy and makes you smile. You make us smile; you are a teen to be supremely proud of.

You fill our hearts with love and joy. Thank you for being you!

Happy Sweet 16th Birthday Amanda!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The bend of this proud firefighter's head seems to reflect every ounce of the exhaustion and sorrow which seems very tangible even through the cool while grace of ice which forms the sculpture. The sorrow of the angel by his side, seems powerful in it's comfort even as the angel grieves while at the same time striving to give comfort.

We must never forget. And, we must never forget to honor those who serve us and daily place their own life on the line for our safety, whether it is a member of an armed service, or an officer of the law, or a fire fighter - there is someone watching over us, fighting for our safety, our freedom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Thank you to my dear friend, Sandy D. for sharing with me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crafty Creations 2008 ... an encore presentation!

If you like a good craft fair that is stocked with a great blend of hand-made items, then you need to check out
Crafty Creations 2008 Eighth Annual Fall Craft Fair.

Crafty Creations has handmade crafts created by local crafters - these are not your "retail" crafters who mass produce items, but rather crafters who create with a passion, and love to share their talent and artisty. You'll find many one of a kind items.

Crafty Creations features Fall, Harvest & Christmas Decorations, Gifts, Home Decor, Jewelry, Clothings, Food items & Much Much More!

This year they are featuring many new and exciting items ~~ so bring your shopping list, and let Crafty Creations help you avoid the holiday boredom of retail shopping.

Crafty Creations main even craft fair was last weekend, but by popular demand they are back this weekend for special as requested encore presentation of their annual craft fair.

Come check out Crafty Creations this Saturday, November 15, 2008
They will be open for your shopping pleasure from 10-5

Crafty Creations is located at:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CCDA Fund Raising Fun Event:

On Friday, November 14th,
between the hours of 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Cast and Company Dance Alliance is having a fundraising party at

John's Incredible Pizza Co.

John's Incredible Pizza Co., is just that! Incredible! They have a scrumptious buffet which includes a generous variety of yummy items from the garden to create your favorite salad; a baked potato bar; a pasta bar; and a dessert bar which includes freshly made on the spot donuts.

Of course they also have their fabulous pizza buffet - I have seen just about every imaginable type of pizza being offered, including peanut butter with jalepeno; cheese; combination; and pesto pizzas. I have even tried their mac and cheese pizza. I love a good crust, and their pizza is made on a tasty one: not too thin, and not too thick ~ just right.

When you have had a chance to eat, John's features a great indoor amusement area which features a scaled down bowling alley, a roller coaster, and other great midway games. It's loud and fun.

So, come on out and enjoy a fun meal. If you need a flyer, please call me and I will be happy to meet you at the door when you arrive, this way Cast and Company Dance Alliance will get credit for 15% of your receipt.

Thank you in advance!

Monday, November 10, 2008

In just 1 week

My lil' girl will turn sixteen .... it seems almost impossible. Although I do have the grey hair to prove it.

I can clearly remember the day I discovered we were expecting our miracle child. I doubt that I will ever forget the pure elation of the realization that we would have a precious child to love and raise and watch grow into his or her own person. We chose not to find out whether we were expecting a son or a daughter, but in my heart, I knew I was carrying a precious, sweet girl.

I can remember the excitement I felt even during those painful hours of labor, as we waited to bring our precious baby into the world. Hearing her first cries was like a gift of the Angels, and holding her for the first time was a moment I will cherish always.

Each moment of her life has been precious. I would not trade being her mom for anything in the world. I could not wish for anything more wonderful then the lessons she has taught me as our daughter.

I could easily detail every moment from birth, to starting school, her passion for dance, her love of school and her addiction to reading ~ and still I would just be scratching the surface of the person she is and the depth of my love for her.

This time next week I will be the proud mother of a sixteen year old. Turning 16 is a milestone in an of itself. Turning 16 and still being a wonderful child whom your parents love and respect, that is a treasure beyond compare.

Thank you for being my treasure precious girl!

We love you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Get ready for a whirlwind!

A whirlwind of activity .....

November has traditionally been one of our busiest months of the year, and this one is going to be very much the same. Usually by now we are neck deep into the activities and stress of the dance world with extra practices and costume fittings and the general hectic pace that for some reason tends to surround the dancers at this time of year. But, since Manda decided not to do "Company" this year and focus her fancy foot work on tap and Tap Company - life isn't as driven by dance as it has been. Don't get me wrong, it's still busy just not as.

However, for every dance class that Manda is not taking this year, there is a club or activity to take its place. She has embraced life as a high school student, and is trying to enjoy each moment to the fullest possibility. She is not a "party" "social" girl - she is an involved girl. When she is not on campus for regular class time, she is on campus for Teens for Humanity, Link Crew, A Teens and a few other clubs that I can not remember at the moment.

Next week starts a hectic calendar of events that include:
An over-night babysitting gig
Manda's fourth driving lesson,
My mom's arrival to share in the occasion of Manda's 16th birthday,
A fund raising dinner at Jon's Incredible Pizza,
An extra tap class practice (Manda is looking forward to that, she LOVES tap;)
Dinner with the family for Manda's 16th birthday,
A Sylvia Besana Holiday Parade practice with the Stars and Little All-Stars,
Manda's actual birthday,
A Mock Trial meeting
A Teen Peer Court trial (it's only 2 weeks away and she still does not have the client details)
A Stampin' Up! workshop
Kim's birthday
Jill's birthday
The Sylvia Besana Holiday Parade
taking Manda and her friends to see Twilight
Manda's DMV licensing test
putting up the tree for Christmas
getting my handmade cards done and in the mail
starting the baking for Grandma's butter cookies .... yum!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Help make history!

I voted ......

did you?

Sunday Baker - a BLOG to ENJOY

I know I have mentioned this blogspot before, but I just can not resist mentioning it again.

If you have not already found her on your own, well, it's worth the small effort it takes to click on the link above and lose yourself in the wonder that is Tanya's blog. She always post great ideas and yummy recipes. Her blog is so welcoming, I feel like I am sitting in her kitchen ~ not at my keyboard.

If you hurry, you can even participate in her two latest contest:

The Grab Bag Game - submit your favorite, must take pot luck recipe to the comments - and WOW! there are some really yummy ones listed already!

The Stitchy Girl Apron - submit an unexpected blessing - Mine is the blog world which I just recently discovered.

No matter if you are a recipe lover, need a great idea for house and home, or if you just want to explore, come and meet Sunday Baker at

Monday, November 3, 2008


That is the number:

It's 9:09 am as I start this blog;
It's 9 hours until dinner --- butternut squash soup, with a spinach salad!
We had a total of 9 (yes, we counted them) trick or treaters on Friday .....
9 /11 was when Halloween trick or treating started to become much less popular ....

I miss the days when we used to have over a 100 trick or treaters! It was crazy answering the door for that many people, but it sure was fun to see all the costumes and hear all the laughter.

Our house used to be the gathering place. My mom and step dad would come down from Yerington, and mom would make a big pot of taco soup. Jill, Drew, Dorothy, Gil and Lil, Brandon, and Tori would bring a yummy side dish or dessert and a great bottle of wine. Barney (and then later Moose and Gracie) would come along and walk with us as we took the kids door to door. Michelle would bring Autume and Elliot, Karen would bring Kristen and Ryan and Randy and Jessica would be with us too. Sometimes, Logan and Jacki would bring Courtney and Darrien, too.

The grandparents (My mom and step dad, Lil and Gill and Dorothy) would stay at the house and hand out candy to the trick or treaters. The rest of us would head out en mass and trick or treat through the entire neighborhood of about 110 houses. Throughout the neighborhood there would be several large groups of kids with their parents, all out enjoying the evening. There were kids and families everywhere!

It was frequently cold, and when our warm thermoses of hot chocolate and bailey's would run dry, the fathers would give up and take the youngest of the kids back to the house for hot apple cider and more taco soup. The oldest kids would hang on until they could not carry their load of candy, their fingers were cold, and they were exhausted.

We'd all stumble back into the house. The kids bounty of candy would be dumped on the floor so the moms could inspect it, and the kids would share their treasure with the parents and grandparents. Jill loved the "dots" and 'mike and ikes" and I always loved the "tootsie rolls" and "milk duds."

Exhausted and with a supply of candy large enough to feed a third world nation, the children would one by one, close their eyes and drift into a Halloween sleep, their bags of candy tucked firmly at their sides.

I miss those days!