10/31/2011


Happy Halloween!!

(Every little girl loves a bit of Hocus Pocus)

While I'm well aware that I've reached an age where it's inappropriate to go trick-or-treating, I still have to force myself not to put on a wig, paint my face and head out with a little pumpkin basket. I have such fond memories of Halloween as a child back in Vermont, and every year I wish I could recreate and re-live them once more. I can't wait until the time comes when I have my own children to carve pumpkins with, dress up and take trick-or-treating. Oh, and (as Dad always did) raid their ginormous stash of candy for a couple of my favorite goodies.

There are so many great memories of Halloweens gone by, but there are two in particular that stand out for me. 

The year Sonya was obsessed with The Power Rangers and had decided to dress up as the pink one named 'Kimberly.' (Hahahaha! Remind me to dig the family photo out for my Maid Of Honor speech at her wedding someday. Better yet...remind me to dig out the actual costume which is still in our basement) And being the Disney obsessed girly girl that I was (and still am) I finally got my wish and dressed up as my beloved Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I remember strutting around the house in my long red wig, sparkly sequin princess crown and green fish-tale bottoms. I felt like a million bucks...that was until Mom cramped my style big time by demanding I wear a heavy sweatshirt underneath my purple shell bra. Looking back now I'm glad she made me do that as I probably would have ended up with Bronchitis or Pneumonia otherwise...This being Vermont where it's not unlikely to have snow in the 5 day forecast at this point. 

By the end of the night we were whining and tired, Sonya  refused to wear the flimsy fabric pink Power Ranger helmet any longer and I looked as though someone had tried to use my head as a mop. The wind had blown bits of the red wig all around the crown to the point where I closely resembled a red-headed Amy Whinehouse impersonator. Whats more, the entire bottom half of my wig was strikingly similar to that of a forest and ended up in the garbage soon after we got back home. I do believe that's also the year Dad introduced the whole "Girls, you need to dump out all of our candy on the carpet so that I can look through it and make sure there aren't any needles or poisoned candy from bad people!"... I'm skeptical of his good intentions as our candy bowl was mysteriously sparse in terms of fun sized Snickers bars or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups from then on...

Another year my sister, cousin and I all worked for an entire week on our very own "haunted ghost tour." We spent hours spookifying our play house in the path between Mr. and Mrs. Pawul's house and ours. We made signs to stick by the road in an attempt to attract people to come to our little production. We carved pumpkins, hung plastic ghosts in the trees and covered everything we could get our hands on in spider webs.  We swept a path into the woods where we had organized branches and stumps in a circle for our 'audience' to sit on. We rehearsed 'ghost stories' which we would tell with a flashlight blinding us from below, and went as far as to designate ourselves as 'tour guides' for the walk from the front porch to the stumps. Mrs. P (bless her soul) even helped us make gooey chocolate brownies and chocolate devils food cake for our guests. 

In the end, our pathetic attempt at promoting/advertising our 'haunted ghost tour' failed us and the only people who showed up were our family members and neighbors. What's worse, I vaguely remember standing in front of everyone with a flashlight in my eyes telling my best interpretation of a ghost story...and hearing nothing but laughter. 


But these special times will stay with me until I'm old and wrinkled. I reflect back, smile and laugh. I wouldn't trade them for anything else. Aaaaah, the memories!





Hope you all enjoy a spooky - and safe - Halloween! 

Thanks for reading, guys!
Take good care,




Amanda 





10/28/2011

Disappointment is an understatement...



Close friends and family all know how much I love Adele. She's right up there with Coldplay in terms of my musical obsession, and has been for a while now. As I grew up listening to the Garth Brooks version of  'Make You Feel My Love' I've come to absolutely adore it. It's always been a contender in terms of my 'first dance' song at my wedding someday (when I was little it was either that or Bryan Adams 'Everything I Do I Do It For You'). But when I heard Adele's version I fell even more in love. 'Make You Feel My Love' is one of only 3 songs in the world that makes me sob. (The other two are 'Butterfly Kisses' by Bob Carlisle - which reminds me of my Dad - and 'My Wish' by Rascal Flatts - which my Mom once told me was her special song to me). About 3 years ago (even before he had popped the question!) Carl and I sat on a smelly bus rolling down the crowded streets of Liverpool, sharing headphones - one ear bud each- and listened to Adele's version. We both agreed it was absolutely lovely and would make a great first dance song, but for the time being it went on the back burner. 

With Adele's release of her new album '21' last January my obsession flared up even more than before, and I found myself religiously listening to her on my iPod again. So much that Carl would come in from work and I'd be standing at the kitchen counter, cutting potatoes or kneading bread, with the surround sound booming 'Rumour Has It' and full on head banging in process. (Yes, I know it's not head banging music, but when your hands are busy you make do! The rhythm just takes over!) And being the good boy that he is, Carl bought me tickets (a graduation present) to see her in Blackpool, England on her 2011 UK tour. I nearly died with excitement, and I remember telling everyone I knew. Then the waiting game began...As he bought the tickets in January I had 8 months until the gig...and it felt like it would take FOREVER!

Then came the rain clouds...

Around the end of August/beginning of September Adele announced that she was cancelling her US tour because of throat complications/a bad cold. However, she still hadn't postponed or cancelled our UK tour date, which was September 8th. I thanked my lucky stars that I'd be one of the lucky ones who still got to see her. Then, two days before the big day Adele announced she'd have to postpone our gig (and 3 others) until November. Although I was bummed out, I thought 'hey, this could be MUCH worse! At least it's not cancelled, I can wait another month!' 

Fast forward to yesterday...

Adele announces the following on her website: It is with deep regret that Adele has been forced to cancel her remaining live dates and promotional appearances in 2011. She is to undergo surgery to alleviate the current issues with her throat and a full recovery is expected. As a result, doctors have ordered her to rest her voice and completely recuperate before looking to schedule any work commitments

(inset cussing here)

NOOOOOOOO! :( I'm not going to lie, I cried last night when I read that. I feel bad for Adele because I know that must be a terrible thing to have to go through. And I know it's such a ridiculous thing to get SO upset over, I mean there are FAR worse things that could happen and I should be thankful for what I've got...it's just that I've been waiting for SO LONG to see her! In addition, the past 2 months of my life haven't been exactly enjoyable and stress-free (for various reasons) so this was that little something to look forward to that kept me going. 

Son of a biscuit! Mother effer! 

Ah well, they say everything happens for a reason...apparently I just wasn't meant to see Adele. Maybe another time... And in an effort to make me feel better, Carl has agreed that with the refunded money from these tickets we'll go see Coldplay again instead. (they've just released their new album and should be touring the UK soon! HOORAY!) Guess I'll just look forward to that now. Time to turn this frown upside down.

I feel better now that I've had a chance to vent about it all. And now I'm off to enjoy the rest of this rainy Saturday afternoon with the hubby.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Take good care,



Amanda 


10/21/2011

When you were little, your biggest fear was the monster under the bed...



Life is so easy 
when you are young.
When kisses heal boo-boos
and lullabies are sung.
It seemed that life could go on for years,
as long as the nightlight 
was there to quiet our fears.
 Why does growing up
 have to be so hard?
When did the world become bigger
 than our own back yard?
There is no more recess 
to stop the stress of the school day.
There are no more falling stars 
that can take our worries away.
Decisions are more complicated 
now that we are grown,
why cant we go back to
when life was our own?

-Author Unknown

Do you ever have those startling days where the sad realization that you're officially an 'adult' smacks you in the face? Where you take a moment to stop and contemplate how your childhood, a time of ignorant joy, ease and effortlessness is well and truly over with? Well, today is definitely one of those days. 

 I remember when I was about 16, sitting with my little sister watching old family movies of Christmas's and birthday's gone by. Laughing until we cried at the footage of my 2nd and Sonya's 1st birthday party (our birthdays are 1 year and 4 days apart so we always had joint celebrations) where I insisted on taking my diaper off. Dad's solution was to duct-tape it back on... and all throughout the video I'm running around with an unwanted diaper taped around my waist. Or the Christmas when a 3 year old Sonya sat on the couch sneaking chocolates out of her stocking while Mom helped me open mine...the entire time you can hear Dad giggling behind the camera as he tells her not to eat anymore because it's too early. Or the footage of the campfire at our house where the entire family sat roasting marshmallows and drying off after a water-gun fight between my Uncle and Dad got out of control.  Looking back now, my favorite parts are when you hear Grandma Cousino's voice...I miss her so much. 

I'll never forget how when Sonya and I turned off the home movies I secretly went back to my bedroom and I cried. It was so sad to know that those were now memories, some of those loved ones where no longer with us and I was growing up. 

And it's weird, because nowadays we all spend the majority of our teenage years trying to convince everyone we're more mature and more grown up than we actually are. You wish away the birthdays before the big '21' and once it's come and gone, you suddenly realize there aren't really anymore to look forward to.  I remember counting down the days until I got my drivers license, the days until prom, the days until  graduation from High School, the days until my flight to England, the days until Carl and I got engaged, the days until we got got our first apartment, the days until my parents came to England to watch me graduate from College, the days until our small English wedding... But why do we spend so much time wishing away our lives and focusing primarily on the next benchmark? I always find that what I really miss about my youth - my childhood - are those days in-between the big events. I miss sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea with Grandma before she got breast cancer. I miss Dad helping us build our tree fort in the woods behind our house. I miss the summer months when my sister and I would turn into fish, never leave the pool, and have competitions to see who could hold their breath the longest. I miss sitting at the breakfast bar watching my Mom make apple pie. I miss getting all dressed up and going trick-or-treating. I miss being little. 

I suppose it's all part of life, though. And without the sadness of missing your childhood, the journeys and experiences, the  joy and the effortlessness of it all; you would not appreciate your life as much as you do now. It's taught me not to take anything for granted. And the older I get, the more thankful and blessed I feel to have had such a special childhood - filled with happiness and love. Whats more, my memories and those experiences inspire me to provide my children with the same someday. I've come to realize that perhaps growing up isn't all that bad...Sure, paying bills, going to work and being 'responsible' isn't exactly fun...but age provides you with wisdom, the chance to embark on new adventures, and every year is full of  new memories you'll get to reflect upon in the future.

10/17/2011

Procrastination at it's finest!



Let me be perfectly honest...this post is basically an attempt to avoid working on this bugger of a Literature Review I have to do for my PGCE course...Making sugar cookies yesterday also seemed like a far more enjoyable experience, so I had a go at playing with polka dots and edible glitter. (gotta have some bling bling, even on cookies). While the cookie making fiasco was good fun, it reminded me of making sugar cookies as a child with my neighbor who babysat my sister and I. Throughout my childhood I can't think of a day where I wasn't running through the leafy and trampled path between houses to get to Mrs. P's. Sonya and I adored her and to be perfectly honest, she was more like a Grandmother than a neighbor. Well, I say Grandmother, but we loved her so much and were so close that from the ages of 3 and 4 we called her 'Mom.' And no - this is NOT one of those sad cases where Sonya and I were neglected by our real parents and Mrs. P became a replacement for our non-existent Mother...she was just one of our families most special and closest friends. 

It's 'Mom' who I hugely accredit for my love of cooking. And as a little girl I can vividly remember the many times we'd sit at her squeaky grey kitchen table rolling out the glossy, sticky cookie dough. Of course Sonya, our cousin Kayla and I would all fight like cats and dogs over who would get to pick/use the first cookie cutter...but between you and I, that was never my favorite part. I always most looked forward to when the various plastic bottles would come down from the cupboard. Filled with all kinds of different shapes and bright colors, for me, the sprinkles were the most exciting bit of decorating cookies. Especially 
at Christmas time when Sonya and Kayla would hack away at the cookie dough with their tree cookie cutters. I loved sitting there trying to press as many of the green colored sugar sprinkles into the dough as possible. And to be honest, they hardly resembled trees by time I was finished. While even now I'm dazzled by sprinkles, I find that my lack of patience in catching the little shits when they roll off the counter, teamed with my OCD, makes them a far less crucial accompaniment. (Take note: my cookies in the picture above are naked). I'm ashamed to admit that I spew foul language as I'm on my hands and knees desperately trying to catch them before they roll under the couch or throw rug.  Carl refuses to let us get a dog, but I'm convinced this is a key selling feature...they're like mini vacuum cleaners. At least our family puppy dog, Max, was always good for cleaning the floor of any food that fell. No sooner than any sprinkles fall on the floor, BOOM, they're down the hatch of the pooch. Perhaps having kids will change his mind...maybe some sprinkles miraculously end up in his shoe... Imagine it: Carl goes to slip his foot in, feels the thousands of round beads so tips the shoe upside down (thinking it's rocks) and sprinkles rolly polly to and fro. To which the kids and I will reply with bottom lips out: "If we had a dog, he'd of eaten those!" Eh, who am I kidding? I'd end up cleaning all of the sprinkles and Carl would rant about how much he hates dog shit. Hope he knows baby poop isn't much better...

Alright, well I feel as though I've done my fair share of procrastination for today. Hopefully you've enjoyed my random and long winded ramble about anything that popped into my mind. Miraculous how this post started with cookies and ended on dogs and baby poop...but hey, suppose it could be worse. haha I look forward to writing again soon!



Thanks for reading, guys!
Take good care,




Amanda



10/12/2011

You had me at hello...

Well, here it is folks. My first attempt at a blog post!  

Now before I get into anything, I feel as though right off the bat I should take a moment to apologize in advance if this is in any way craptastic and fails to meet your expectations. To be totally honest, I've hummed and hawed for a while now about whether I should do this. I'm terrified my life is WAY too dull and mundane to even attempt to write about, and I certainly don't want to put people to sleep with long winded rants about going grocery shopping or cleaning the toilet. So, I promise to make a conscious effort to avoid any of that mumbo jumbo and instead focus on the fun and exciting bits. Remind me at a later date to mention the time I electrocuted myself with my hair straightener, or when at the age of 12 I accidentally answered the family house phone (and my father's business line) with "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends!" That should make for good reading... 
I absolutely love to write and I feel as though I'm at a point in my life (no pitter patter of tiny feet) where I can afford to spend time on creatively expressing myself through my writing. Furthermore, I'm totally digging that this blog could grow to be my online scrapbook. A place I come to remember the good, the bad and the ugly. Somewhere I can share my thoughts and adventures friends and family. 

Here it goes! 



A bit about me...My name is Amanda and I'm just a small town girl from Vermont. Now, for those of you who may be scratching your head trying to mentally locate Vermont on a map, it's actually one of the 50 states in America (you'd be surprised). It's in New England right next to the Canadian boarder.  Don't worry if you didn't know, I remember as a teenager staying in Florida on one of our annual family vacations and having a grown man ask me if Vermont was a city in New York... clearly Geography wasn't one of his strongest subjects in school. So, if you too struggled in Geography class, I've attached a map in hopes of better educating you on the whereabouts of this tiny place. Remember, good things come in small packages! I adore my beautiful Green Mountain State, my home, and I'm SO looking forward to moving back next year and settling down for good. Long story short, I moved to England nearly 4 years ago to attend University and be closer to my Liverpudlian boyfriend of 5 years. Now, after loads of blood, sweat and tears I've got a BA (Hons) in Education Studies with English, I'm currently doing my PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Early Years) and I married that Liverpudlian boy this past July. 

What else? Well, it's probably pretty obvious based on my studies, but I love children and I'm really passionate about becoming an influential teacher (The Miss Honey type, NOT the Trunchbull). I adore cooking/baking. I always have. Mom tells the story of when I was 7 years old standing on a foot stool at the counter of our kitchen pretending to be the host of a cooking show called 'Coffee on Coffee.' (It made sense at the time, ok) Basically, I waved a whisk around in the face of my poor little sister pretending I was the new Julia Child on the block. But that love of cooking is still with me now, as an adult, and to be honest I'm pretty damn good at... if I do say so myself. I attended the New England Culinary Institute previous to moving to England where at the end of my studies decided (maybe a little too late) that as much as I love cooking I wasn't prepared to make it my profession. As anyone else in the culinary field can tell you, it completely CONSUMES your life, and even at the age of 19 I knew that someday I wanted a career that left me with the opportunity to spend weekends and holidays with my children. With that said, my other interests include: New York City, Coldplay, white chocolate, Peter Pan, polka dots, tea, Cath Kidston, my husband, friends and family...oh and I love long walks on the beach at sunset. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I was beginning to sound like an advertisement for eHarmony.com. Carl (that's the hubby) will tell you that I have OCD as I constantly 'floof' and can't stand being somewhere that looks like a tornado's gone off. This reminds me, I'm petrified of tornado's even though one of my favorite movies happens to be 'Twister'. A little weird, I know...I'm big on holidays (I'm chomping at the bit to put my Christmas tree up and it's only October). I LOVE to travel and experience new places. I find it physically impossible to put mascara on without opening my mouth. I HATE cigarettes, pea's and mustard, can't stand when people chew with their mouth's open, and I only love snow until the day after Christmas. 

Well, as I promised I wouldn't be lame and only blog about boring stuff...I think it's about time I wrap up this introductory blog so you don't get clobbered by whoever you live with for snoring so loud. In addition, I've run out of random things to say about myself :) haha In the future, I give you my word that all ramblings will be much more exciting, don't you worry. I just thought I'd give you a bit of incite into who I am so you know what to expect and what you'll have to put up with. Hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit about me, I look forward to writing again soon.