Sunday, December 23, 2012

2nd Annual Laskey-Cooper Christmas Light Expedition!

A good time had by all!!

 Close to there ya go.

This is not on a weeping willow tree....maybe a homage to Avatar?

Not special, but we had not seen the Abominable Snow Man, so there he is (the bright white light)....just use your imagination!

We ended up in a golf community in on a golf cart, ta da!


Creepy dancing Santa in the top window......after midnight, we're told, it's the full Monty

Classy.......except for the creepy angel in the top window

Local tree that my kids insist on driving by as much as possible

Not really sure why i took this pic

Big Lots special.........."give me one of everything", much?

Each year we go by, each year we try to take a pic, maybe next year it will work.

red and green festival

Another local house

And our favorite!  Had their own radio transmitter with sign directing you to which station to tune into....lights went with the music, of course.  To top it off, the guy living there came out and gave us candy canes.  probably trying to get rid of since we sat there for so freaking long!  
In case you are interested, this is at 20 Bridgecreek Ct, Stafford, VA


So, 3 years ago, our family suffered the loss of my mother-in-law.  It, like I'm sure many people have experienced, literally ripped the family apart.  So many emotions, so many unspoken words, all coming together to an explosive and devastating head.  In just a few hours, not only did we deal with the death, but we lost 3 of our 5 nieces and a sister in a very loud exchange of feelings.  At that time, I had only the one child, but I had been so much a part of the lives of the 3 girls, that I felt as though I had lost 3 of my own.  There was a definite divide in the family and everyone took sides and parted ways.  I dearly love our 2 other nieces, but the loss was sorely felt.  But what were we supposed to do?  Sometimes, don't you wish you could hit CTRL+Z (undo) on life? I now realize, though, that whether it was at that moment or months or years down the road, the same scenario was bound to occur.  Just so much bottled up stuff.  Anyhow, for 3 years we have moved on.  Each family with their own triumphs, their own moments, their own hard times.   In those 3 years, 2 babies were born, moves were made, kids GREW (a lot!).  A little while ago, by the grace of Facebook, a connection was little step at a time.......a few likes here and there, a few comments, gradually messaging back and forth......

Now, if you've ever been in a similar situation, you know the stakes are always high.  Everyone nervous about the other party, about what they're thinking, feeling, etc.  You also have to take into account outside parties.......will they feel betrayed?  Will they be honest with themselves and understand your needs?  All that in mind, you sometimes just have to take a leap of faith.  I ached for those girls so much, I couldn't backtrack.......finally on the path I had hoped to find for so long....just had to keep going regardless of any impending cliffs and hope for a field of flowers..well, guess what?  LOTS OF FLOWERS!!!!  

As we walked into the restaurant  I really tried to hold back the tears, but I couldn't.  I just held those girls and my sister-in-law for all I was worth.  Met my new niece and introduced my youngest.  We spent several hours with them and, though it put me driving over a yucky mountain (btw, all mountains are yucky late at night) in the pitch dark, every moment was worth it!

Wishing you and yours a Christmas as blessed as our own this year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Send me a Color for my Birthday!!!

Ever find yourself looking at the top right corner of your FB page and just saying happy birthday to whomever of your friends is listed for the day?  I know I'm guilty!  It's a social norm, an expectation, a "thing you do".  Same with all the "Happy ________ Days" throughout the year.  They are routine, a quick few keys so that you've fulfilled your obligation.

And as receivers of these wishes, we all know it's viewed in much the same way; you read who has sent you the message, smile, and then move on.  It's a moment.  But, have you ever really stopped to think about what you might actually want to say or how you hope the person's day is?

I would like to start a new tradition!!!  How about sending the person a color!!!  yes, a color!  Something a little more descriptive and personal that takes more than a moment to absorb?  I'm a visual person and I truly believe in the power of colors to enhance your mood, a situation, a relationship,.......a whole day!

So, here's the challenge......I am quickly approaching the next notch on the, instead of sending me a "Happy Birthday" send me a color, like:

Have a pretty in pink day!
Have a giggly green day!
Have a smiley yellow day!

Get it?

I will, in turn, send you something entirely unique and uplifting and personal on your special day.  Also, pass on this little tradition and we'll make those all important days that much brighter!!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Bake - My Way

You'll never guess....I found a recipe on a certain site that looked easy enough.......of course I had to adapt it, though.  Below is the original and my adapted version.  I hope you try and like it.  And before I begin....yes, mom, I know that's a lot of mayo.  bla.

Parmesan Chicken Bake - Original                                                   
6 Chicken Breasts                                                            
1c. Light mayo or Greek yogurt or a mix                           
1/2c fresh Parmesan cheese plus some for top                   
1 1/2 teaspoon salt                                                           
1/2 tsp pepper                                                                  
1 tsp garlic powder                                                           
Jenna's Cheesy Chicken Stuff - adapted                                                      
3 Chicken Breasts cut up in bite size pieces
1c mayo
handful of whatever shredded cheese I have
a sprinkle of salt
a sprinkle of pepper
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Zucchini cut up (gotta throw in a veg if you can)
 breadcrumbs (why not?)

Preheat to 350.  Spray a 9x13 pan.  Spread chicken in pan.  Mix together remaining ingredients and spread evenly over chicken to coat so it won't dry out in the oven.  Bake for 35 minutes.  sprinkle breadcrumbs and remaining cheese over top.  bake 10 more minutes.  Use the broiler for a few if you want that burnt cheese topping (my family loves that).   Ta-da!

I think it came out ok.  So did the kids.  Mike wasn't crazy about it but he said it was because i actually used miracle whip instead of mayo and he could taste the difference (whatever).  I took a couple of pictures, but this is the only one that came out semi-ok.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Bark

After Jackson got in a better mood, I decided to embark on Halloween Bark.  You'll never guess where I found the idea!  Pretty easy, got a 5 different colors of Wilton's Candies from Michael's.  Melted them in the microwave.  then I lined cookie sheets with wax paper, put half of each color on one and half on the other.  I just spread them in messy columns with the back of a spoon.  Then I gave each boy a skewer and had them start drawing in the candy to create a tie-dyed look.  (we're making this for our Tie Dye Halloween party on Saturday)

Then I gave each boy some M&Ms, some pumpkin sprinkles that i found at Michael's and some fruit and nut trail mix blend to sprinkle over their mixed up mess.  I included the nut mix because i felt that just candy was too sweet and it called for something salty.

I placed the sheets in my freezer and walked away.  Half an hour later, pulled them out and ta-da!

Then we just broke it up in to pieces and put them in a box, separating the layers with wax paper.  I think they came out pretty cool and not too thick, either!

Angry Boy!

So, I may have picked up a few irritating habits from one who shall remain when someone is grumpy or mean to me, I get extra "buzzy" for them!  Jackson was in a foul mood when i got home, I held him for a few minutes but that didn't help at all, so, what did this mom do?  I picked up the camera.  HA!  Didn't really get him out of the bad mood, but it made mommy not try to kill him *smiling through gritted teeth*  cheers!  Oh, and the pics where he looks like he is gritting his teeth...yeah...he's growling at me.  literally, growling.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Saw it on Pintrest!

Yes, I'm famous for the little sentence, "So, I saw this thing on Pintrest and....".  Once again, I saw something that was not only cute, but I had everything for!  As mother would say, "It was meant to be!".  The kids helped with this one too.  Took a board out of my husbands wood pile, cut it into 4 pieces (no need to measure, just eyeball it).  Sanded down the edges.  Then we painted them.  The Pintrest item had a pumpkin, a mummy, a ghost, and Frankenstein's monster.  I was successful with the pumpkin, ghost, and green guy.  However, i though i had some old burlap in my fabric box, but no such luck.  I had already painted the board black with big yellow eyes, though, so, what to do?  AHAH!  An owl!  (My husband said it could also be a raven, but whatever).  While the creepies were drying, we painted another longer board for the base.  I'm not that great at free-hand painting letters, so i just used some fun sticker letters i already had and then did a clear coat over them.  Drying, done.  Screwed it all together and ta-da!  A fast, fun, inexpensive, yet, cute porch decoration.  Go me!  Looking for other stuff to create now, any ideas?  Please share!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

50 Shades of Snore

So, I finally finished all 3 books of Fifty Shades and I, personally, was extremely disappointed.  Just to begin, it's one of the worst written books I have ever had the misfortune to read.  Unfortunately for me, I have this issue where I can't leave a book once it's must be I was "forced" to read them all.  I seriously would like to take up a collection to send the author a thesaurus!  Seriously?  If Miss Steele was "awash with sensation" one more time; I just don't know what I’d do!  

As for content......okay, what 21 year old doesn't have some clue about technology?  How do you make it through college nowadays without an email address at the very least?  Also, let's step back........we go from "who is this guy?" to "I can't live without you!" in five of which was spent broken up.  I'm sorry, no.  It's not even remotely believable.  I know the point was just to fill in the gaps between the badly penned sex scenes, but could we please take a moment to develop a relationship?  

Going on, did the author pick up a technical manual about BDSM and then just copy out definitions word for word?  I thought you were supposed to write about what you knew?  Every "instance" was the opportunity for one great big eye roll!!!  Oh, stow your twitching palms!  I know it's a "fantasy" or whatever, but come on now, women, how many times do you find yourself "panting" and "begging"?  Also, might I point out that never was she as sore as a virgin turned porn star should be?  I don't care how much lube you have, at some point, you're going to hurt with that much activity!

This brings me to my current frustration with a lot of literature as well.  I am so sick of emotional morons!  I mean, come on, does every woman have to be a gaming-playing twit who becomes totally devoid of intelligent thought at the site of a decent looking guy?  It's exasperating!  What are guys supposed to think about us???  

All I can say is that the author is lucky she had a taboo working in her favor or she'd have to use her books for firewood this winter!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dinosaur Birthday Party

Mikey decided the day after his 4th birthday that he wanted a Dinosaur party for this 5th.  Of course, throughout the year I would ask him if that's still what he wanted and he stuck with it, so, lucky for me, I had most of a year to plan this one out (and to make purchases).  The invitations were a dinosaur egg that opened.  I used a large Easter egg cookie cutter to trace the shape.  The back was one full piece, for the two front pieces, I cut two eggs out of cardboard and then cut a bottom and a top separately so they would overlap, and then used those two pieces as my pattern.  I have a dot hole puncher that I used to cut a bunch of colored circles and then hot glued those down.


For decorations, i kept it simple to green streamers, some balloons, some footprints up the front walk, and my birthday wreathe.

 The activities I chose were:

1.  Make fossil necklaces.  I used a recipe for "Play Clay" at  It turned out ok....I did forget to eventually give the children their necklaces because they weren't totally dried, but that's beside the point, right?

2.  Hunt for dinosaur eggs.  About 3 weeks beforehand, I got some water balloons because they would be the right size and a bunch of newspaper.  I found a really great paper mache recipe at  In total I did 4 layers of paper, but only 2 at a time to give them the best chance at drying all the way through.  When they were totally dry and hard, which took about 2 weeks since I don't have that much time all at once so I did them on consecutive Saturdays, I painted them with plain old acrylics.  When that was dry, I took an exacto knife, cut a slit and stuffed them with small dinosaur toys.


3.  Dig for dinosaur bones.  As you know, you can find almost anything on  So that's where I turned for dinosaur bones.  I ended up with some pretty great products, but I did take my time in reading reviews and hunting for the best value.  We buried them in the sandy pit behind our house where our pool usually sits.  I gave each kid a paint brush so they could 'properly' clean their bones.

4.  Breaking Geodes.  Now, this didn't go well.  The idea was there and it could have been great, but no such luck.  This was another item I thought I had researched well, but out of 20 geodes only 2 had any kind of noticeable formations in them and then those were that clear white color and not purplish in the slightest.  The kids did enjoy hitting stuff with the mallet, though.  Well, to be honest, some of them did.  I hit most of them just to get through it.  We still gave each kid a baggie with their pieces.

5.  Dinosaur tattoos.  The least imaginative item.  I ordered them and my sister and friend applied them.  We did this at the same time as the geodes so that only half the kids were outside hitting things at once.

For the food, I didn't get too involved.  I did buy way way way too much, but nothing spectacular.  "Dino" Dogs and "Pterodactyl" Bites.  Veggies, chips, spinach dip.

For the cake, I attempted a truly original idea, but I didn't execute it well.  The concept was a dirt cake, green grass icing, and then dinosaur footprints through the grass.........below was the result.  Maybe someone else would have better luck with this one.

In the goody bags, I included magnets, dinosaur fact cards, and reusable dinosaur stickers and then they got their eggs, the dinosaurs, and the skeletons they dug up.  All of the dinosaur stuff I found for the goody bags came from keeping an eye on the $1 bins at target and Wal-Mart.  You never know what they'll have in those bins!  I hope I have been able to give you some ideas and if you attempt that cake, please show me your results!!