Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Days

The 2010-2011 school year has begun for my kids!

 I still cannot believe it is time for school.  I felt like I just cleaned my room and said goodbye to the kids in my district, and here we are with a new year.

 Arlington and the little ones started school on Monday.  Arlington is in 2nd grade this year.  She has had a great first two days of school already.

She loves her teacher, and has a nice group of kids in her class.  I hope her excitement to go continues everyday.

Finley and Cainan are in Pre-K.

 Finley is in her same class as last year.  Today she saw her best little friend who she has missed dearly all summer.

Cainan is in his same class from last year.  He also has his same little best friend as last year.  So both kids are very happy.

Mat put Arlington on the bus the first day of school.  I had to be at work, unfortunately, and couldn't stay.  I was glad Mat was able to see her off for her first day.

Arlington came home very excited.  We played at her friend B's house for awhile (and Athena and I had a chance to chat), and then we went out to dinner with the whole family.  Arlington told us every detail of her day during dinner.

Tomorrow my kids in my district come for the first time.  I had a chance to see many of them this afternoon when they came in to see their new teachers and have an ice cream party.  I got a lot of hugs and had a chance to talk to many of the kids about what they did over the summer.  Some of them have really grown.  I am excited to see them tomorrow.  This year's second graders were in Kindergarten my first year, so it is fun to see how far they have come since then.  I will be really sad when they go off to middle school!

 So the year is getting started.  We have a lot planned this year.  We have known about Finley's diagnosis for a whole year now.  We have many fundraisers coming up (stay tuned) to raise money for our new RDH12 Fund.  Yes, the Fund is becoming a reality.  We have started the process and we are so excited!!!  So now it is time to get research going to save Finley's sight!

 Don't forget, as always, to check out our website HERE (www.finleyfighters.com).  And the VisionWalk is only 1 month away!  October 2nd will come quickly, so if you are walking with us, please order your shirts.  And we appreciate everyone who is fundraising for us - you are all amazing!

Enjoy your week and we will see you Saturday!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Making Meals Monday

Hi everyone!  Happy almost fall.  We are back to the grind, so I am back to cooking on a regular basis.  This is both positive and negative.  I do not LOVE to cook - nor am I good at it.  BUT - my waistline will not stay where it is if I continue to eat out (or eat ice cream for meals).  So - here we go!!!

Teriyaki Salmon

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
4 (6 ounce) salmon steaks
1 teaspoon ground ginger


- in a large resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container, combine the first six ingredients, mix well
- set aside 1/2 cup for basting and refrigerate.
- add salmon to remaining marinade; cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours, turning once.
- drain and discard marinade.
- place the salmon on a broiler pan
- broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes.
- Brush with reserved marinade; turn and broil for 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

**I made this on the grill - I wrapped it in foil and poured the extra marinade over it.  Same amount of time for broiling on the grill and it tasted great!

Shrimp Tempura


  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 quarts oil for deep frying
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. In a medium bowl, mix rice wine and salt. Place shrimp into the mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in deep-fryer or large wok to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, ice water, cornstarch, egg yolk, salt, white sugar, shortening and baking powder.
  4. One at a time, dip shrimp into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully place a few shrimp at a time in the hot oil. Deep fry until golden brown on all sides, about 1 1/2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove from oil. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm. 

Unbelievable Chicken


  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons prepared coarse-ground mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


  1. In a large glass bowl, mix the cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover, and marinate 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place chicken on the prepared grill, and cook 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear. Discard marinade.


  • The nutrition data for this recipe includes information for the full amount of the marinade ingredients. Depending on marinating time, ingredients, cook time, etc., the actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Is Summer REALLY over?

I am afraid it is.

 This is our last official summer vacation day.  I am somewhat sad, but somewhat happy as well.  We had a great summer - we went many places, and enjoyed a lot of time outside.

But the last two weeks, the kids have started to show that they are ready to return to their friends and routine.

They are driving me - and each other - crazy.

 For example - Finley drew with black crayon on one of her expensive dolls tonight after I put her to bed.  She asked me to wash her, but the doll is cloth and cannot be machine washed.  We talked about why she did it and she said, "well it WAS my intention to color her."  Word for word - I kid you not.

So it is time for the new school year.  Cainan and Finley are in their last year of preschool, and Arlington is a second grader!  I will take pictures for Tuesday's blog of their first day tomorrow.  Arlington is a bit nervous, but I think she is more excited than anything.

All school bags are packed.  Lunches are ready to go.  Clothes are laid out.  Everyone is anticipating a great first day. 

 We put together Arlington's summer reading list that we need to turn in tomorrow, and she read 17 chapter books (or bigger) this summer!  That isn't bad in 9 weeks for her!  And we read her many more.  And she read countless books to her siblings.  So we are very proud of her.

Today we took the kids to lunch to celebrate their last day of summer.  And then they played outside and enjoyed the beautiful summer weather.

 This past week was another busy one.  We wrapped up a few more doctor's appointments.  Finley had her allergist appointment and they want to test her again for peanut.  She has always been allergic, so they want to see if that is still there.  We will be doing that test in the near future.

Arlington got to visit her new classroom on Wednesday.

She has 14 kids in her class - such a great size!  She has 7 girls and 7 boys.  (I thought it was 6 and 8, but counted wrong the first time).  She is in class with a few kids she has never been with before, so she has a chance to make some new friends.

Her BFF is in her class, which she is THRILLED about.  They better be good!  Arlington's teacher is the new teacher of the group.  She seems very nice and very young.  I think it is going to be a good year - we can't wait to see!  She had books on her desk already, which tells me this is going to be a busy year also!

My in-laws Sally and Ben arrived Thursday evening to help us with the kids for a few days.  It was nice to have them visit!  We can't thank them enough for coming in to help out.

 Thursday night was mom's night out with my Salem mommy friends.  We went to a yummy local restaurant and had sushi.  It was awesome!  I never get to eat it much because I am the only one in my family that likes it.  So it was a lot of fun.  We like to do this dinner out each year before school starts - our own back to school celebration.

Finley had an eye appointment on Friday.  This was a surprise one.  The Lions Club of Connecticut helped build this brand new eye center at Yale in New Haven.  When they heard about Finley they asked me if they could get her an appointment there.  We haven't been happy with Dr. Fulton - our current retinal specialist - so I thought "why not".  Expecting the appointment to be months from now, I didn't give it any more thought until I got a call this past week and they had an opening on Friday.  So off we went!

 We love this retinal specialist already.  For one - he was really nice to myself and my mother in law - a concept that Dr. Fulton doesn't seem to grasp.  He didn't mind us asking him questions, and he was very knowledgable about LCA.  He brought in quite the crowd with him when he did her official exam - it isn't very often patients come in with LCA (since there are only 3000 of them in the country).  So all the doctors in the practice were curious about our girl.

Finley did great at the appointment - she was very charming and did everything she needed to do.  She even let them dilate her eyes with very little fuss (she really hates the drops).  She had originally made the tech who took her retinal photographs nervous because she personally had never had success with someone so young.  But Finley is a pro at eye exams (unfortunately) and the tech was able to get many pictures she needed.

 The end result of this appointment (other than the news that we will not be returning to Dr. Fulton) was that Finley's vision is around 20/100 in both eyes.  This is slightly worse than before.  She seems to have a TINY bit of central vision left, but it is pretty bad.  Also - from the pictures - in comparing them to the pictures that were taking last summer, her retinas have gotten much more black.  This is not good news.  She went to having a pretty pink retina with just a small area of black (dead area), to an almost all black (dead retina) in a year.  So it has progressed - but we have not noticed much difference in her.  Maybe it is because we are with her every day.

So we will just have to wait for the final report to see what the doctor has to say.  He wants to see her every 6 months to keep up with the progression.  So we will keep you updated.

The good news with this doctor is that he is very pro-research and gene therapy and he been collaborating with the researcher at the University of Penn (who we met and really like).  They are positive that a cure for LCA is not that far into the future, so I hope they are right.  Our little one seems to be running out of time.

 Saturday Mat and I went to New York City to see Wicked the musical.  It was pretty good.  I was a little disappointed because we have wanted to see it for so long.  But the two lead actresses were not that great.  The second act was better than the first, but I do wish the show would have been better.

 But we enjoyed our day in the city.  After the show we had dinner with Kirsten, Sean and Alissa (my cousins who live in the city) before leaving.  I can't believe I didn't take a single picture!  Sigh.

 Today was church, grocery shopping for back to school, and just enjoying our last day together before the madness begins.

 I wanted to let you know that we have some new Finley's Fighters products!  We have coffee mugs:

 And we have travel mugs.

Also I am getting ready to make the jeweled braille t-shirts (or whatever type of shirt you want).  I put the coffee mugs and travel mugs on our website - HERE - so go and check them out.  All profits go to our new foundation for research for Finley's RDH12 LCA.  We need all of your help!  We also can do many other things, so we appreciate the help!

 The walk is right around the corner.  Make sure you get your shirts if you are walking with us, and order your wristbands as well.  The more the word is out, the better our chances of a cure.  October 2nd, we want to see you at the walk!  Plus, for those of you who can't join us, we are going to have many other fun fundraisers coming up, so get your shirts for our events!  You can get them here on the blog, email me, or get them on our website HERE (click on HERE to take you to the site)

 Tomorrow Making Meals Monday returns!  I know you are super thrilled.  If I can remember, I will post a few delicious cookie recipes that our family friend Loretta gave to me.  They are all VERY yummy.  So I will see you tomorrow!

 Once last thing to share:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I will blog tomorrow

We just got in a little while ago from NYC, so I will blog tomorrow.  Lots to tell, so I will wait until I am more awake!  :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stream of consciousness

Before I start my post, I would like to congratulate my Godsister Christy, and her husband Scott on the birth of their new baby girl!  Aubrey Grace was born around 8am this morning weighing 7 pounds, 1 ounce.  Mom and baby are doing fine!  Can't wait to see her!!

This is our last week of summer.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't trying to cram all the cleaning I meant to do all summer into these last couple of days.  Sometimes it is better to work under pressure.

 (if you are wondering what Finley is wearing in this picture - it is a sled.  She found it in the garage.  And now it is stuck)

I cleaned underneath both girl's beds on Monday.  That took me the entire day.  I had no idea they had started to put all the toys from the basement under their beds.  Mostly under Finley's.  I should consider myself lucky that I didn't find anything under there that was unpleasant.  I didn't find anything interesting either, like money.  That was kind of a bummer.  All those hours of work, and not a single fun find.

 I have to tell you that after throwing out two garbage bags worth of McDonald's toys, old art projects, broken toys, unknown items - it looks much better.  I think it will stay that way for about, oh, a week.  And that is probably pushing it.

 I am also a total type A loser who set out the kids first week of school clothes.  School starts next Monday.  I am a bit on the early side, but I figured while I was cleaning, I might as well go all the way crazy.  I even gave Arlington's bookbag and lunch box a bath AND got all of her school supplies organized in her cute little pencil box.  2nd grade - here she comes!

Cainan's room was so much easier to clean.  He isn't quite the pack rat the girls are.  Although, his little toys have about 1 million parts, and I have no idea who owns a sword or wings or gloves.  Superheros have way too many costume parts.  It is a little over the top.

 (stuffing his pie hole with chicken.  Like he is never fed.)

Of course - I shouldn't complain about his toys because at least they don't have the smallest PollyPocket shoes in the entire world.  Or  - when organizing Cainan's toys - do I have to match up shoes that are the size of my pinky and stare at them for 45 minutes to make absolutely sure everyone has a buddy.  No......no he doesn't have that.  (If Arlington's wasn't helping, I would have chucked this shoe project)

 We booked our plane tickets to Disneyworld yesterday!  We are so excited to go.  We are going for a whole week - I can't wait!  The kids are going to be almost 3 years older than the last time we were there, so it is going to be so much fun.  We are booking the rest of our vacation today.  We are staying on property, and going to the Castle for lunch, and of course, doing Bippity Boppity Boutique!  Even Cainan gets in on the action -they have a pirate theme part for boys!  And we are going to do the Pirate and Princesses party one night.  We are going to Universal as well - I cannot see the new Harry Potter theme park.

 (nugget man with a mouthful)

We are really excited.  We aren't going until Feb., but we wanted to book everything early, since we want to do a few special things.  They tend to fill up quick.  Anyone who lives around Orlando that wants to come and join us - we would love to see you while we are down visiting!

It rained this weekend and we didn't get to go to our local fair.  We were pretty bummed.  We will have to catch it next summer.  I was hoping to see our cow Tom from cow patty bingo in the cow pull!  (I know - small town)  Stinking weather.

I have found out recently that many people find my blog by searching for cow patty bingo, and Pfizer corinthian hotel.  I think that is pretty great!  I have even gotten a few emails about these subjects.  I can tell you - if you run across my blog because you were looking for info on cow patty bingo - leave me a comment!  It was really successful and we had a great time.  And the hotel was beautiful in NYC.  I recommend staying there - great views, great service, great location!

 I wanted to mention about the sweetest man on the planet.  His name is Mike Prestia.  He is 87 years old and the uncle of very dear friends of our family.  I have never met a more caring, hard working, driven 87 year old in my life.  He is amazing.

The point?  He has been really involved with our fight for Finley.  He ran circles around us helping us get ready for the BBQ.  He has been proactive on fundraising and spreading the word about our little girl around my parent's hometown.  We cannot say how much we appreciate all of his hard work and dedication to our little girl.  We understand he has a picture of her in his car and prays for her recovery.  How could we not love this man?

Anyway - we have our Visionwalk coming up in October.  Mike wants to make sure all the people in my parent's hometown are ready to go!  So - he had our family friend - Larry (his nephew) drive a route around my parent's town to map out 3.1 miles.  This is the distance of the 5K we will be walking in October!  Check it out:

How cool is this?  This is for us to practice for the walk so that we will be ready.  I tell ya - we are lucky to have Mike.  I wish I lived closer so I could practice this route.  Too many hills in our town in Connecticut!  (I am lazy).  I think that Mike might need to adopt my children.  I think they would learn a lot from him.

This past weekend Mat picked our second set of goodies from our garden.  This time it was corn and zucchini.

 He had the girls help him make zucchini bread.  Yuk YUM.  Arlington is looking a bit disheveled.  That just show what a hard worker she is.  (did you buy that?)

 Finley got close to getting the flour in the bowl.

 Finley is concentrating very hard.  She takes her bread making very seriously.

 The finished product (minus some taste testing)

 We have a new friend.  We have a hummingbird feeder that hangs outside our kitchen window.  All summer long three little humming birds fight over who is going to drink the sugar water.  They also have to fight off a bee or two.  We have some really beautiful hummingbirds.  They are pretty loud when they are angry at each other.  Tricky little devils - not really into sharing.

 So this is why the other day I found apparently the alpha hummingbird perched on the hummingbird feeder.  He (or she?) sits here for hours at a time.  If another humming bird comes close - this one chases them away.  He doesn't even mind that I am watching him.

 Or taking his picture through the glass.  (I tried to go outside, but he spooked and flew off.  Don't worry.  He returned to his duty when I went back inside).

 So I feel kind of bad for the other two (who - no offense are prettier).  They can't get close!  Next year I am going to have to hang a few feeders for my little friends.

Today I mowed the grass while the kids played.  For awhile, Finley wore a butterfly net on her head - over her face.  Don't ask me why.  If I wasn't mowing, and way to out of shape to run in and get the camera - I would have taken her picture.  It was too weird.

Arlington meets her teacher tomorrow, and hopefully we will learn some of her classmates.  Then she is getting her hair cut by a friend of ours.  Finley also has an allergist appointment and I am going to work for a few hours.  So.....a full day.

In keeping the post completely random - Finley looks just like Aunt Betty here!  We found her look a like! ;)

 This picture though?

 This is ALL Finley.

Aren't you glad you know all the details of our mundane life?  I thought so.  You.are.welcome.

Don't forget to check out our new website... HERE.  If you got a message from us, and it came through as a spam, I assure you it was not.  Finley's Fighters is a real website created by us!  So take a look.  I apologize for gmail.  Sometimes they make my life very, very difficult when I want to send a message to mass people.  And order your shirts for the walk!  Help us fundraise for October!  Get a Finley's Fighters wristband to show your support!

Mat and I are seeing Wicked Saturday, and may not be home from NYC until late.  So I may have to wait and blog Sunday.  Oh -will you survive???