family · life


Yesterday was one of those crazy busy days in our lives. Colby came home from school (3:40pm). Shortly after we went and picked Blake up from his intramural sports (4:15pm). Colby then had to be at the local HS at 6:30pm for his 7pm concert. This meant that we had leftovers for dinner. At least we had a lot to choose from.

I didn’t process the amount of people who would be at this concert. It was the 5th and 6th grade choruses from his school. The 7th and 8th grade from the middle school. ANDDD a few different groups from the HS. Yep that is a LOT of people. I should have got there a lot earlier than I did. Oh well. He was more than on time and we did finally find seats in the balcony.

It was really neat to see the various ages and abilities of the different chorus groups. Then at the end all of the students involved sang a song that was written just for this concert they perform each year. The song was divided to provide parts to highlight the abilities of each of these age groups.

The 5th grade chorus was the biggest group there. I was pleased to see the number of male singers in all of the different chorus groups there. It is nice to see that it is more accepted for guys do this compared to when I was growing up. Thank you High School Musical!

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Before Colby came home, my work had already canceled school for today. Right after he arrived home I got the phone call that their district had cancelled school too. Why…. it is cold! They cancel if the real feel is -10 or below. We are forecast to get real feel temps in the -20s today and tomorrow! The actual temps are in the low teens and single digits. The winds are whipping out there!

We all slept in and then Richard headed off to work. The boys and I are having a quiet day. We will probably wrap up later and watch a movie. I wonder when we will get the phone calls cancelling school tomorrow? We will see.

If you are part of this Arctic blast… stay warm. If you aren’t, you’re lucky!


blog hop · life

Blogmas- Christmas Music

The next topic on the Blogmas list is Christmas music. I love music of almost every kind. I always have Christmas music playing during the season. We listen to Christmas music on our Alexa. At work, I have instrumental versions of Christmas music playing while the children are working. I always find the all Christmas radio station for my car.

Now, do I like ALL Christmas music…. nope. There are some songs that I think are way over played/over sang. There are ones that I like sung by some but NOT by others.

I know some people love the new songs and some prefer of the traditional ones, But, I love a mixture of both. Christmas music should bring a smile to your face and your heart. Just listen to the “When Christmas Comes to Town” from the Polar express and you will feel what Christmas music should feel like.

family · life · through my camera lens

Mary Poppins Jr.

The boys had their performances this weekend of Mary Poppins Jr. They had a blast working with the cast in this play. There is something special as a parent to see your child up on stage singing and acting. But, even more important seeing them smile and their personalities shine.

Colby had so much fun and was improvising in all of his background rolls. Blake you could see was super focused and hit every mark he was given.

This is just one of the costumes that the boys wore in their performance. I can’t wait to share the pictures of them in their “park” costumes, but those were taken by the professional.

family · life · Uncategorized

Variety is the Spice of Life

Over the years, we have tried to expose the boys to a variety of things.  We have exposed them to a variety of sports both on tv (Olympics, pro sports, x-games etc..) as well as going to see sports live (pro soccer, indoor football, college football/baseball/softball/ basketball etc…)

We have introduced them to a variety of literature genres. They read everything from graphic novels to non-fiction to biographies to mysteries. They enjoy finding series of books that they can get wrapped up in characters as well as books they read to learn something new.

We have also expanded their horizons when it comes to music. They have been listening to a wide variety of music since they were children. While they did like listening to Laurie Berkner Band and the Imagination Movers when they were little, they also loved classic rock. If you look at their MP3 players you would find everything from Van Halen, to Weird Al, to Green Day to more popular songs today. There is very little that we do not listen to in the house.

Right now the boys are into listening to musicals. They are big into Hamilton, Sponge Bob the Musical and Wicked. I know that this is spurred on because of their performing in musical theater themselves. We will continue to expose the boys to a variety of musicals. I know we will soon be listening to a lot of Mary Poppins here soon, that is the play they are doing this fall.

We know that the more they are exposed to the better they will be later in life.

family · life · through my camera lens

Fireworks and more

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, As I mentioned in my post yesterday, they don’t have town fireworks on the 4th here. We had a quiet day. Richard went for a bike ride. We went to Five Guys for lunch. (We love Five Guys Burgers and Fries!, ok well Blake eats a hot dog and fries, but the rest of us love the burgers).

I then went out for a bit of time shopping on my own. This was two fold, I was bathing suit shopping (read my whine about that here) and I was getting a bit of time away. Richard worked in the garage putting one of our older receivers and speakers out in the garage. As I’ve mentioned in many past posts we always have music going in our house.

Colby decided that we needed to have cookies or something for desert. I tossed out a few suggestions and we decided to make maple and brown sugar oatmeal cookies. Colby helped make the cookies and pretty much made them on his own this time. If you follow my instagram, you saw a picture of this yesterday.

We had steak, sweet potatoes fries and grilled “oven” fries for dinner. I put the sliced sweet potatoes (with EVOO, S&P, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg) into one foil packet. I sliced up two baking potatoes and put them into foil packets too. These get cooked on the grill at the same time as the steak. The potatoes I did one with just EVOO, S&P and the other had a seasoning blend with EVOO. Richard and I devoured the sweet potato packet. Every time we do this we say we need to make this more often, but never do. I really like the slices that get a bit of burnt edge because this adds another layer of flavor and the sugars are typically more caramelized.

While we were waiting for dark, mother nature decided to put on her own fireworks show. We had over an hour of lightning in the distance. There was no rain, there was little to no thunder, but there were some impressive bolts and often the sky lit up like day.

It let up enough right at dark, so cranked up the tunes and lit off some of the fountains that we purchased. The boys also played with snap bangs and sparklers. I brought my new camera out and played with the settings.

family · life · through my camera lens

Frozen in the summer

This week the boys were in theater camp. When we lived in FL the boys were involved musical theater in their school. They got to perform in Lion King, Seussical and Willy Wonka. When we moved here they didn’t have anything like that at their school. They got busy asking around for places that had musical theater for kids. Both kids found friends we acted for Jeter Backyard Theater. While we didn’t find out early enough to get into their spring performance we did find out in time to get them into theater camp.

The boys are doing two weeks of camp this summer. This first week they were performing with kids from 4th-12th grades. The oldest that they remembered being on the cast was 15 years old. They went in on Monday, auditioned and found out their roll before they left for the day. Tuesday-Thursday they learned the script, songs and blocking. Friday night at 7pm they put on Frozen Jr. This was the first time this play is being put on ANYWHERE. Jeter and two other companies across the US are piloting the production for Disney Theater. When they go back in July they are doing Frozen Kid. This will be a slightly shorter performance. They will be working with a younger cast that time around.

For this performance, Blake was one of the townspeople. He was very happy that he would be in a lot of the scenes and actually had a line. Colby was one on of the “hidden people” (the rock troll people). He wasn’t in as many scenes, but actually had a solo line in the song “Little Bit of a Fixer Upper”. They had soooo much fun and are super glad they did it and excited to go back in July.

I love that my boys are into performing like this. I grew up on the stage too. I had my first performance in the third grade and performed until my freshman year in college. There is something about being on stage. I always loved getting to know the other actors and helping each other show their best on the stage. It is a place where the odd are accepted and respected for what they can add. You learn structure, flexibility, public speaking and so much more. Can’t wait to see what roll they get in their next production and hope they continue to choose to perform going forward.

book · life · reviews · Uncategorized

Beach Rental book review and rambles

Happy Friday Eve!

This has been such a strange week for me. I posted a bit about it yesterday. On top of all the crazy busy of the boys’ schedules, Richard had 2 days of meetings. For his job when they have these big meetings where people travel in from other states it means full days of meetings followed up by dinner and/or drinks. This means he leaves the house at 7:20am to drive the boys to the bus stop and then didn’t arrive home until around 10pm. I’m not sure how he does it! At least it’s done now, and everything went as smoothly as he hoped it would.

I just finished reading another book on my Kindle Paperwhite E-reader . One of the biggest perks of reading on the Kindle is the free books I can get with out prime membership. On Monday, I posted about Coming to Rosemont: The First Novel in the Rosemont Series which I also got for free. I guess this is another bonus to having a prime membership even if the price is going up! I love the free shipping, we have a Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player which is ALWAYS on playing music in the background of our life. I had to laugh yesterday listening to the boys request music on Alexa, we went from We Didn’t Start the Fire to Laughter In The Rain then Wake Me up Before You Go-Go. My sons have always had an eclectic variety of music they listen to, but it just seems to shine through more lately. Some of their favorite stations to listen to are Pop For Cooking, ’70s Light Pop Perfection, ’80s Pop for Runners and those are just a few that they pick. I find it crazy that they know the names of the songs as well as who sings the song. Me, well I could sing the whole song for you but couldn’t fathom to tell you the facts about the song. Oh well, guess I’ll never go on a music game show, but they can!

Today I finished reading Beach Rental (Large Print) (Emerald Isle, NC Stories) (Volume 1), but Grace Greene. I felt like I read this book really fast, but that maybe because I’m finally back to only reading one book at a time. I read all three of the Harry Potter books one after the other and then I was reading a book and an e-book at the same time while adjusting to reading on the Kindle. Beach Rental was the first book in forever that I read both during the day and at night. So I felt like I flew through the book. I was able to get this book free through my prime membership, notice a trend her?

Juli Cooke’s life has never been easy. She bounced around in the foster care system as a child and has worked hard as an adult to keep her nose clean and a roof over her head. She works at a grocery store during the day and picks up jobs with caters at night for extra cash.

One night while working as a server for a lavish party, her life takes a very unexpected twist. She meets Ben Bradshaw at that party and he turns her life on its ear with the proposal of marriage. Ben is dying and realizes he wants someone in his life to keep him company. He offers Juli a financial freedom for her friendship, that may or may not turn into more over time. Juli agrees with this arrangement, but finds more opposition from Ben’s family than she was prepared to deal with. Ben’s cousin and business partner Luke, noticed Juli at the same party and had a preconceived notion of who she was and what her motives really were. When Ben’s sudden death changes everything, Juli and Luke are forced to work together to settle the estate and so much more.

Read what happens in this unique love story that shows that often times love pops up in the most unusual places.

** This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement**

family · life · through my camera lens

Busy Spring Saturday

Spring! Spring! Yeah… it’s spring! And we have been doing a lot outside… that is where you should be when it’s spring!


04_13_c_01After having a steak dinner yesterday, we headed back into the woods. I wanted to show Richard and the boys some of the paths I traveled. We decided to cut down through our own property and see if we could clear out a safe path to use on a regular basis to get down into the woods behind our house. I think there are a few good choices. We just need to clear out a04_13_b_02 bunch of thorn bushes, all of us ended up with cuts from the thorn bushes. One crazy thing… all four of us put tick spray on. Only one person came home with ticks… ME! I pulled at least 6 ticks off and then spent the night thinking there were more on me. Why me? Gesh!

Today, we got up and had a slow morning. We headed to the gym so the boys could go to their “little lifters”. They have really enjoyed this, too bad there is only one more week. plantersBut, the good thing is they have learned a lot of things that they will be able to do on their own. This will be good going forward especially in the summer when I plan to have them workout on the days we head there to use the pool.

After the gym, we went to DiBellas for subs and then to Lowes (if you follow my blog regularly you probably have noticed this is our regular Saturday pattern). While we were at Lowes, we picked up plants, new planters, potting soil, fertilizer and a few other things. Colby helped me pick out the plants to go in the planter and the hanging plant we purchased.  When we got home we set to work. Richard and I worked on getting the new planters set up. Dixie decided she needed to do some digging too.

We then went into the backyard and Richard began digging holes. This is not an easy task. Digging holes should not require more work with the pick ax than the shovel. He planted the Christmas tress that we purchased to use on the front porch for part of the04_14_c_03 Christmas decoration with the intent on planting them in the backyard. Even though it was a lot of work we will probably keep with this tradition next year.

While Richard was working on the holes, I spread out the butterfly/humming bird seed mix that we picked up at Lowes on sale a few weeks ago. I then went and fertilized the front yard. We need to do something to get the grass a bit greener. Since there is rain in our forecast for tonight and most of tomorrow we wanted to get some of these tasks done so the rain can do it’s job too.


For dinner we decided to head to Red Robin (YUMMM!) Richard needed to go to the hobby shop to get a new motor for his Traxxas truck, so why not go out to eat too? We all splurged and got milkshakes which is a great treat (Richard: Oreo, Blake: chocolate, Colby: Vanilla, Me: Caramel). We figured we had burned a few extra calories today.

So I’d call today a success. We will see how much rain we get tonight and tomorrow, we need it! The big thing on my agenda for tomorrow is making pizza dough for Stromboli. The last few times I’ve tried to make pizza dough it didn’t workout… keep your fingers crossed I figure it out this time.


Christmas Music

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I may like Christmas just a little bit? At the baby shower yesterday, they were giving me a hard time about putting up my Christmas decorations so early. Ok I put them up even early for me this year, but hey it made my house happy and that is the gift of the Christmas season.

Besides putting up my decorations early, we also started listening to Christmas music at the same time. I love the music of the holiday season. We have an Amazon Fire TV stick on the tv in our living room. We use it all the time to listen to music. There is a great selection of music. You can listen to stations, albums, artists, a specific song and much more. I have enjoyed finding the various different Christmas music stations. Right now I’m listening to Relaxing Christmas Station, it is a nice mix of popular and traditional songs.

The boys love the fire stick too. They enjoy talking to Alexa and asking questions. Every day they have to say “Good Morning Alexa!” so that Alexa can tell them a fact about today. Colby loves to have Alexa tell jokes. Blake like to learn new facts from Alexa.

We are already talking about getting a second Fire TV so that we can have one in the basement as well at the one in the living room. The new one will have 4K capability, which excites Richard since he has this Onkyo receiver on our list of things to get for the new house. When we built the house we had surround sound systems built into the living room/kitchen area as well as the basement. The living room has a 7 point system with a second zone added over the end of my island. If you can’t tell, we love music.

We play music in this house all the time. When the boys are home the music is almost always on. And the Fire Stick makes it so much easier to play the music we want to hear.

Do you have a streaming device that you use at home? What kind of music do you listen to? Have you started playing Christmas music in your house/car? 


I am in the process of adding Amazon Affiliate to my blog site. This means I will get a percentage of any purchases made through my blog site. Anything you read about on my blog is my own thoughts and opinions. I will not post about an item we do not use ourselves. I will not be influenced to post by the proceeds of this Amazon connection. I shop at Amazon all the time and already link you to Amazon when I do my product reviews. So read my blog and know that these posts are true Lori posts… just with a few extra links. 


So much of my life I remember through music. Music has played an important roll in my life since I was a child. I hear songs and it reminds me of times or experiences in my life. I grew up singing on stage and it was a way to escape the reality of childhood, especially in my middle school and high school years. But, it’s not just singing of music that brings me joy. I almost always have music playing around me. I play in at home, I play it in my car and I typically played it in my classroom. I enjoy everything from classical to hard rock. There is very little music I don’t like, probably rap and county are the only two types I really could live without.

My sons have also gained a great love of music. Blake turns on the fire stick first thing in the morning and has the music playing. For him, I think it is as much a need for noise as it is a love of music. He can hear a song and tell you who sings it and often times what album it is on.  I can’t do that. I can sing you the whole song, but not know the name of the song never mind the band who plays it.

People laugh when the see the type of music my sons enjoy. They will be listening to Green Day, and then switch the the Allman Brothers, then turn to Weird Al, and then choose to listen to John Williams. They have a very eclectic music selection on their mp3 players.

I can’t imagine living without music. For me… music is memories, music is love, music is life.

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