Song-ography – Photograph

Time really flies when you are having fun  working! I was doing a really good job posting regularly on one or the other or both of my blogs and then EIGHT DAYS STRAIGHT of work got in my way.  After the 5th… my ambition just hits that wall! I just had a three day weekend, but I pretty much just hibernated for those days. Tara is away visiting her boyfriend and his family, so I have had some quiet time to myself!

I am going to jump right back in with  Song-ography for this week. I have really come to LOVE these weekly songs as prompts for sharing photographs. Is “meme” still the correct term to use for such things?

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This week’s song is Photograph by Nickleback. I can’t say I ever heard this song, and I really enjoyed listening to it!

The lyrics definitely make me think of the years Tara and I lived in Florida, and the occasional pangs of “homesickness” for that life. It was different then… almost (almost) like a 6 year vacation, after all we lived less than one hour from Disney World, we had a pool of our own, and we lived 1000 miles from family. There are days now that I wish we had that life back, but others I am very thankful that we are living back “home” close to family!

“Look at this photograph
Every time I do it makes me laugh
How did our eyes get so red?
And what the hell is on Joey’s head?”

MK Tara Ta Da 2-22-06

She will kill me if she sees that I posted this.

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Tara in Tub photo Tara2003MissBubble.jpg

Tara and James  - Mayhem Fest - Camden 2012 photo 62f10faae7f76f2d0a94fbe719b5f8e7.jpg

A little more recent (2012) when she had bright pink hair that garnered many comments. Plus James Cassells of Asking Alexandria is REALLY HOT!

 

I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane at the expense of my beautiful and funny daughter, and my interpretation of Photograph by Nickleback.

Stop by You”ll Shoot Your Eye Out and how other’s interpreted the theme!

 

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Song-ography – One is The Loneliest Number

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“One is the Loneliest Number”

“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”
-Three Dog Night

I guess I’ve been a “!” for so long that I don’t really think of it being a lonely number.

I was the youngest of four kids…my siblings 10 years+ older than me, so it was kind of like being an only child. I spent a lot of time alone.

I have never really minded being alone. I like spending time with myself. Even now I relish every moment of time when I am home ALONE!

Tara is a “1” too…. an only child, she has not yet embraced loving the ONENESS!

She might be an only but she's got the looks of a "10"

She might be an only but she’s got the looks of a “10”

One Spring Daffodil - I am anxiously awaiting ours to bloom

One Spring Daffodil – I am anxiously awaiting ours to bloom

Who knew I would have so much trouble finding pictures of only ONE.

Visit You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, she’s another Philly girl!

 

Love and Lattes,

Martha

 

 

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Birthday, Babies and other Babbling!

Stacy

Yes, Stacy is back….. I needed somewhere to blog that random stuff that clogs my brain cells. I have been having trouble coming up with blog topics, so this is great!

I am so happy for Stacy and her family in their new state and home. Pennsylvania will miss you. I am glad we had the opportunity to met in person!

So what have I been up too?

Working, parenting, repeat, working parenting, repeat! I feel like I rarely do anything else.

In November I was promoted at work from the Senior Beauty advisor to a Shift Lead. I am one of three “key holders” in addition to the store manager. That just means that I have a key, and am responsible for the money handling and all lots of other management duties on my shift. On weekday day shifts 90% of the time the store manager is there as well. Evening shifts, I am the “boss” once the manager leaves.

I loved my beauty advisor job, and I was fortunate to not have to work evening shifts. With this position, I generally work two and sometimes three 2:30-10:30 shifts. I don’t much mind working evenings, but it is not a big hit at home…. even at 17 Tara likes having me at home with her.  When offered the promotion I felt I could not turn it down. It did mean a raise and for the most part the learning curve has not been too big.

Speaking  of 17, I am the mother of a SEVENTEEN year old. Her birthday was last Tuesday. This birthday more than her 16th has me realizing how much fast she is growing up. We are working on getting her driver’s permit, she originally had not showed an interest in driving so we are a year behind in the process. Isn’t she gorgeous? (Photo credit… Tara Kasper selfie!)

tara_selfie_3914                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So who has had enough of winter? We have had enough of the white stuff. It is strange this week to be able to see the ground! While not a lot for some places but I believe we are at the third snowiest winter with 15 storms. The Robin’s this year seemed to be very confused or decided to winter up north. I don’t ever recall seeing so may Robin’s when there was snow!

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Have you see any good movies lately? We don’t go to the movies as often as we used to. It is just so darned expensive. Tara and I went to see Non-Stop on Friday. My work schedule was really crazy, and I worked three evenings in a row, so we had a movie “date”. Even at a matinee, sharing one drink and pretzels. it cost $33. That is just crazy!  It was a good “edge of your seat” movie. While the ending was predictable, the story line to the reveal of the antagonist kept me guessing!

Oh, did I tell you, we have BABIES, TWINS. My nephew and his wife become the proud parents of Spencer Thomas and Avery Elizabeth 2 months ago today!  Avery is the first girl in our immediate family since Tara was born.

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Today (Tuesday) begins my weekend. I don’t need to be back at work until 2:30 on Thursday. Not sure what I will do with my time off. Tara has school work to do part of the day before we can go out and have fun.

Well, that’s it for this week!

Love Luck and Latte,

Martha

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Mellow Yellow Monday – Electric Factory

Viki and Tara – Electric Factory

More pictures from our photo adventure around Philly.
The Electric Factory was our actual destination that day. We were buying tickets for Monster Energy Outbreak Tour featuring Asking Alexandria one of the girls favorite bands.
The venue is in an old converted electric factory at 421 N 7th Street in Philly. This location has been open since late 1994.
I love the artwork of the entrance door. Totally brings me back to my teen years with the peace sign and Ms Pac man!!

Around the corner on the other side of the building I found this. Nothing special. I just really like brick walls!

Join in the fun of Mellow Yellow Monday! Yellow adds a little fun to everything!

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Ruby Memories

When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.
Walt Disney

A little more Disney today. I don’t have any new “rubies” to share this week. I’m off for a few days, and hope I get to some photography worthy destinations! The Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland! Oh my, how my Tara has changed from the little girl of 9 in 2006, to a 15 year old teen! I am so thankful we had those years in Florida. We lived there for the perfect years in a young girls life, from 6-12!

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Capt Hook and Mr Smee from Peter Pan

Ruby Tuesday 2

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My Teen the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian (recipe)

Tara, my 14 year old decided almost three months ago that she would no longer eat meat. Nothing really ethical about it (although she is an animal lover), but more so that she just lost the desire to eat meat.

I did not feel that I had any right to deny her request. Many dinners already included one main dish for my mother and I, and something different for Tara. I had no way of knowing if this was a whim that would last only a week, or something more long term. I can only applaud her for wanting to eat healthier. She really does have a pretty healthy diet, once I convinced her that a 280 calorie McDs Sweet Tea every day was not a good idea. A treat a day or two a week is fine. She does not drink soda, rarely eats candy, does not like cake. She has learned that dark chocolate is best for us, and will limit her intake of that to a small piece from time to time!

Tara loves her carbs! She can make a meal out of beans and rice (with cheese – therefore the lacto in the vegetarianism). She also loves rice – both white and brown, as well as couscous. Before her decision to not eat meat, her meal choices many times included ground beef or a good old chuck roast. She would also eat chicken thighs or legs, not being a big fan of white meat. So you see, her meat choices weren’t always the most healthy! She would probably kill me if she read this, but she could chow down on a good chuck roast with gravy!!

We discussed the fact that if she was not going to eat meat, we had to make sure that she still got enough protein. I’m not sure if we are doing a perfect job of that yet, but we are still learning. I have successfully made her dishes using Veggie “ground beef” such as LightLife SmartGround®, she even likes their “bacon”, which I do not understand.

I am glad that she chose to include the “ovo” in her vegetarianism as well. Being able to serve her eggs opens up many options. We don’t over do them. Usually two mornings a week she will have a Spinach/Mushroom/Cheese omelet to start her day. She also likes hard boiled eggs, but only eats the whites! Win-Win! The dog enjoys the yolk from time to time!

Shortly after her decision to go vegetarian, we were in South Philly near a great Whole Foods store. They have a huge selection of foods on their salad and hot foods bar. She choose one that included cubed tofu and really liked it. I finally bought some the other day, and have sauteed it with a little soy sauce, and she mixed with rice and a veggie. This morning I sauteed some up with a little olive oil and find myself snacking on it! It actually is pretty good.

Tara’s healthier eating style has helped me get back on track too. If you know me, you know I need to lose some serious weight. I had been on track during the summer, but fell off track when helping my mom with her recovery from surgery. All planning went out the window. My biggest downfall has been not planning my food for the days I work. I would wind up making bad choices in the things I would purchase for breakfast and lunch. Since the beginning of the year I have packed all my food every day. I cut out the very bad (320 cal per bottle) Lipton Brisk Ice tea (it was only 84 cents and last all day!) and now bring a bottle of water or may splurge on a 0 calorie bottle of Vitamin Water.

We both found that we LOVE LOVE LOVE Chobani Greek yogurt. Whether for breakfast, with my lunch, or as a night time snack, it is very satisfying! Now my quest each week will be to find the store that has the best price on Chobani! My Walgreens is supposed to have to varieties in the cooler, but I have not seen them there yet!

This is getting very long! I hope to prepare some new vegetarian dishes for which I found recipes yesterday. I made a pot of soup last night that my mom and I enjoyed. I found the recipe Savvy Vegetarian. I’m now following her on Twitter and Facebook! I think I will be visiting this site often!

CANNELLINI BEAN AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
I enjoyed the soup. I loved using cauliflower. You don’t often think of it as a soup ingredient unless it is in a fat laden cream of cauliflower and cheese!
As I prepared, it could have used a bit more seasoning. My dried herbs should probably be replaced, and I did not have fresh parsley or basil. I also do not salt much when I cook, as Tara likes things very salty (she is working on that) and Mom likes things lightly salted! The recipe includes directions for stovetop, pressure cooker or crockpot. I did mine on the stove.

Total Prep & Cook Time: 25 min

4 Servings

Nutrition Data, 177g Serving: 144 cal, 4 g fat, 1g saturated fat, 34 cal from fat, 22g carb, 195mg sodium, 7g fiber, 4g sugars, 7g protein, low Cholesterol, high in Vit A, C, K, Copper, Manganese. Estimated glycemic load 8
Soup Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or Navy beans (1 can)
4 c water or bean cooking liquid
1 bay leaf
1 unsalted vegetable bouillon cube
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, stemmed and minced
2 cups chopped cauliflower (1 small head)
2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced thin
2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 tsp dried basil leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
1/2 cup unsalted crushed tomatoes OR 2 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or basil leaves
Soup Directions:
If using canned beans, drain and rinse
Heat the beans with water or bean broth, veggie bouillon cube, and bay leaf

Heat the oil on low in a heavy bottomed soup pan or pressure cooker
Prep the veggies
Stir fry the garlic in oil for 2 minutes
Add the veggies, and stir fry 2 minutes on med/high heat

Stir in the basil and thyme

Pressure Cooker: Add 1 cup hot water, lock cover, bring up to high pressure, reduce heat, set timer for 3 minutes
Use quick pressure release, add soup stock and beans to the pot, along with tomato sauce or tomato paste
Add 1/4 tsp salt or to taste & fresh ground black pepper to taste, heat for 5 minutes, add minced parsley and serve
Stove Top: Add soup stock and beans to the vegetables, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 – 20 minutes until the veggies are tender

Add the tomato sauce or tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking another 5 minutes

Add the minced parsley and serve

Crockpot: After stir-frying the veggies, add all ingredients to crockpot, cover, set heat to low, cook for 4 hours
Add salt & pepper to taste and minced parsley or basil

Stay tuned for more recipes as I adventure into vegetarianism!!! If any of you have any vegetarian recipes that have worked for your family, I would love to see them!

Thanks A-Latte for stopping by!

Martha

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To the Bat Cave, Robin!

Dah dah dah dah dah dah… Batman!

Tara, my FOURTEEN year old, has recently been obsessed with Batman. It must be a teen age thing because there is an abundance of Batman merchandise in her favorite store Hot Topic!

I took this photo a few weeks ago on South Street, Philly when we visited Philadelphia’s Magic Garden. The door behind her is the garage door of a private home! She was agreeable to the photo, but apparently being agreeable did not ensure a smile!

Mellow Yellow Monday, because everything is better with a little splash of yellow!
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Monday, Monday

I love when I am not scheduled to work on Monday, even if I had to work last evening. I feel like I have a whole extra day to get my “world” organized for the week. For many working in retail, including me, the work week is not Mon-Fri, so you adjust accordingly.

During the school year, as long as I have one weekend day off to spend with Tara (when she wants to spend time with me), I actually prefer to have a week day off. I can get more accomplished around the house when Tara is in school!

Bad storms rolled through the Philadelphia area yesterday. There was a pretty amazing lightning show in the sky! Today the sky is clear and blue and the temperatures on a bit cooler. I actually had to close the window as I sit here typing! You can tell fall is right around the corner! I can’t WAIT for sweater weather. Fall was what I missed most about living in Florida for six years. I can’t wait for it’s arrival each year!

We have no big plans for my day off today. Taking my mom out to the chiropractor. Hopefully he can give her some relief from being “out of whack” since her surgery. Tara wants to go somewhere, anywhere today, she just likes to ride in the car, listening to her music. So I guess we will run a few errands and maybe find some place to be outside and enjoy the weather.

Today starts the last two weeks of summer for us. Tara goes back to school on September 6th. She will NEVER admit it, but I think she is ready. Ready to see friends every day (few of her friends live in walking distance), see who is in her classes and make some new friends. Up until a few days ago discussing school was TABOO, but now it comes up frequently in conversations. She’s deciding which jeans and T-shirt to wear the first day, wondering who will be in her classes, etc. She even admitted that she needs to TRY harder this year. I’m hoping she has teachers who are better suited for her learning style, who can motivate her rather than cause her to turn off! Time will tell! She will be a FRESHMAN, however, here it is still in the middle school!

What I am not looking forward to is the MORNINGS. Tara is a TERRIBLE morning person, as I suspect most teens are. She realizes she needs to start going to bed and getting up earlier. She has been on a crazy sleep schedule this summer.

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Stopy by and visit XMAS Dolly and the other hosts!
Monday’s Music Makes me Move theme today is SCHOOL. (I thought it was last week!)

Okay, so here’s a good one for the end of the summer – Beach Boys – Be True to your School. Not giving up on the summer feeling that the Beach Boys invoke!

How about some Schoolhouse Rock?

(you can thank me later for having this stuck in your head all day!)

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We are Family

It is Day 13 of 30 Days About Me. Today’s prompt is “Someone or Something That Has Impacted Your Life”

30 Days About Me
Simple answer. My mother and my daughter.

My mother has always been all about her faith and her family.

Her faith has brought her through losing her father, son, mother, husband and both her siblings.
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She has endured much physical pain in her life as well, and if she complains, you know it is nearing the point of unbearable.

She has always been there for me. Loved me no matter what.

We might not always see eye to eye but she has never turned her back on me.

At 87, she is currently recovering from knee replacement surgery. She has her good days and bad days. Along with the frustration of the pain, she is also frustrated that she is dependent on others (me) for so many things she wants to do herself.

Becoming a mom was a major impact on my life. There is no love so strong.

Being a single mom/only child team, we have a very strong bond.

The teen age years are proving to be a challenge.

We may fight every day, but when need be we are a team united.

It is difficult living in the middle of the two biggest influencers on my life. Especially since the generation gap between 14 and 87 is more of a canyon!

I love this poem – I do not know who wrote it.
We’re daughter and mother
Not so long ago.
We give and take
And take and give
Along times endless row.
Love is passed
And love received
To be passed on again:
A precious heirloom
Twice, twice blessed,
A spiritual cardigan.

I’ll put it on
And treasure it,
The me I have received,
And when the roles
Reverse again,
I’ll have what I most need.

So may our love
Go on and on,
A hundred thousand years;
Mothers and daughters,
Daughters and mothers,
Through joys and other tears.
– Anonymous

So, who or what influenced you the most?

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Bazinga!

It’s Day THREE of 30 Days About Me. I bet you just can’t wait for my answer to this question!
30 Days About Me
Day 3 – My Favorite TV Show
The favorite questions are more difficult to answer than you would think.

I watch too much TV, or lets say, I have the TV on when ever I am home, including during the night. Do I always pay full attention to a show? No, that is why I DVR things, so I can go back and pick up where I got distracted. That happens to me a lot!

If I HAD to pick just one show, the one that I enjoy watching the most, that would have to be The Big Bang Theory.
The cast of TBBT is the best. I LOVE Sheldon!
I am also enjoying the comedy programming on TVLand with Hot in Cleveland and Happily Divorced, great actresses in good roles!

Summer wouldn’t be summer without Big Brother. I had been a reality TV junkie, but over the past couple seasons of shows, I’ve drifted a bit. I think the shows are running out of really interesting people to cast. I do still enjoy Big Brother, I think just because it is a summer thing that Tara and I enjoy. I’ve got Big Brother After Dark on as I type!

I can’t seem to keep up with all the drama shows, they seem to come and go so quickly anymore. I’m enjoying the new series, The Protector on Lifetime and Rizzoli and Isles on TNT, I like that we no longer have to spend the summer watching reruns!

Cheaper Than Therapy
ATWT was one of the first weekly photo “memes” that I participated way back when life was different and I had more time for photography and blogging. I miss participating, so for at least this week, I’m back. Since it’s about the memories, the pictures don’t need to be current!
I posted a picture of Tara yesterday from last summer, mentioning how much life has changed in just one year for us all. I guess I’m a bit “homesick” for our life in Florida (life seemed more fun back then!). I miss this 10 year old who couldn’t wait to get back on Big Thunder Mountain for the 5th time in a row, or who would oblige me with a photo op with a Disney character. I’m lucky if I ever get to take her picture now!
This is one of my favorites out of the THOUSANDS of pictures I took at Disney during our 6 yrs in Orlando. Tara loved Chip and Dale, and we loved eating at The Garden Grill in EPCOT for the character meal. Now it seems we are always arguing about something when we are out to eat!
Chip and Dale Garden Grill
Stop over and visit Jen. She’s not home right now though, she’s at BlogHer11! (Jealous!)

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