Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chrisner Family Thanksgiving (A Poem)

"It's Turkey Day!" she exclaimed, as I opened my eyes.
"We get to see Grandma and eat lots of pies!
And, I can watch the parade on TV with you guys!"
Said six year old Rachael, like it was a surprise.

"MILK!" Screeched the Gremlin. "Chocolate Milk, I said.
And, I'm cold and want blankey…Mmmmoooooomy! Get out of bed!"

I was snuggled so warmly in bed…
But the screeching Gremlin was hurting my head.
Off came the covers, and on went the robe.
I stumbled to the kitchen of our humble abode.
I started the coffee, and fixed ITS milk….
I gave it to him, with his blankey of silk.

After calming the Gremlin, the princess came down...
There she was, dressed and ready, in a ball gown.
"Let's go to Grandmas" she said, with a smile!
"Not yet, Rachael… we're not going for quite a while.
Now change your clothes, get out of that dress,
And do it right now before you make it a mess."

Then the Princess, she pouted… and she did so all day.
You'd think with so many toys she'd have something to play.
But no, she just bugged us… all the day through
Patience is not her strongest virtue .

It drove me crazy, so I left them with Dad
I went to the gym, and I didn't even feel bad.
An hour of cardio, and an hour of weights
All the while dreaming of all of the plates
Of turkey and potatoes and yummies galore
That I'd be eating soon… thanks to my saviour.

And my mother in law, too… as she is the cook
Thank God for her… and her cook books!

I returned home, to the same scene as before
It didn't stop, I caught the encore
One minute a screech, the next a whine
But soon it would be time to dine!

Into the bath, the two of them went
I felt kind of bad, my poor hubby was spent.
Then was my turn, I jumped in the shower,
Oh, boy! We'd be eating in less than an hour!

It was time to go, we got into the van
Mitch in his suit, Dev dressed as spiderman
Rach in her ballgown, Dad and I in our jeans
This is our family – and we're quite a scene

But then we were there… we had finally arrived
Those poor hungry children would no longer be deprived

At Grandmas, it was like a fairy tale,
The children were good, not a single wail
The golden bird and had such a great taste
Not a morsel of food would go to waste!

MMMMMM… the food was so yummie,
It filled ALL our tummies…
Then we got sleepy from the tryptophan
It was time to leave, so we got in the van

Home, ahh, sweet home…. And now all relaxed
We all climbed in our beds, and lay on our backs.
Our tummies were too full to lay any other way,
So that's how we slept, till the very next day.

To all of my friends, I wish you a good night.
Tomorrow's Black Friday… in all of its fright.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Twas the Week Before Turkey....

I am copying this from the site... keep it in mind this week:

'Twas the week before turkey...
and everyone’s stirring
Their bowls of goodies...
but it’s not occurring
To anyone yet of the trouble a-brewing
The downright disaster in the drain that is stewing.

For if you let fat, grease and oil drip in
to the drain I’m afraid you will not begin
Your holiday season with loved ones and laughter,
But a plumber or two and a sewer disaster!

A sewer backup happens when drains become clogged
With the fat and the grease and the oil that’s sogged
Our delightful delectable holiday pans
So be sure your grease, oil, and fat are in cans!

Just a friendly (and hopefully amusing) way to remember to collect all grease, oil and fat in a can during the holiday season. If you let any of this stuff get into your drain, the result could be more than a nuisance – it could be a costly nightmare before Christmas.

See the original at:


Wishing you and yours a "back up free" Thanksgiving!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nutcracker in a Shell - All Jazzed Up

I just returned from taking my Daisy Girl Scout troop (ages 6 and 7) to see a shortened, jazzed up version of the Nutcracker Suite.  This show incorporated jazz, tap, modern, hip hop and ballet and was presented by The Institute of Performing Arts for Youth.

I chose this particular version because of the notarious lack of attention span that first grade girls have... but I wanted to expose them to this classic tale, as well as to different styles of dance.   It was perfect!  The show kept the attention of my squirmy little girls and inspired them to twirl their way home "ohhhh" ing and "ahhh" ing over the costumes and her own dreams of being a star ballerina that is whisked away by her very own prince. 

In fact, as I write this, my own little girl has (after being forced out of her holiday gown) dressed herself in a pale pink ballet outfit and black dress shoes and is prancing and twirling about like a ballerina, intermingled with the tapping of her feet; like an (almost) professional dancer.

The costumes and scenery at the show were fabulous.  The dancing was wonderful.  The afternoon was magical!  In fact, when I was little, I dreamt of one day having a little girl with whom I could share magical experiences like this.  Indeed, experiencing this performance with all my Daisies (including, but not limited to my daughter) completely fulfilled the expectations of that fantasy.

It's not too late for you to have such an experience!  You can catch tomorrow's show at 3:00 at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Virginia.  For more information, check out this web site:   You can buy tickets at the door for $12 per adult; $8 per child.

Check out the picture of my Daisies each striking their very best dance pose at the "Spartan Head"! 

Learn more about life here in Loudoun County by exploring often!   If you have ideas on things you'd like to see in the blog, please contact me privately, I do want to be your resource for all things Loudoun!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Volksmarch in Leesburg?

Have I told you I love being a Girl Scout Leader?  It's true.

Implied in the word "Leader" is a thought that I might be leading or teaching my girls.... but I think it's really the other way around.  I learn so much; and as a troop we're introduced to experiences that I would never have on my own.  It's really very rewarding.

Recently, my troop participated in the "Volksmarch Girl Scout Walk Together".  Volksmarch is a German custom, and means "People's March". Volksmarch events are organized, non competitive walking events.  I have a friend (and fellow GS Leader) who used to live in Germany and she has many metals from participating in them.  The tradition has been re-created here in America and the American Volkssport Association organizes walking events and walking clubs all over the country.  Their goal is to promote "Fun, Fitness, and Friendship". 

Locally, the AVA organizes (among other things)  "Walk Together" events for Girl Scouts; and the girls can participate individually or with their troop....and this year, my Daisies participated.  It was GREAT fun.

In addition to learning about the German heritage of this tradition, and about the organization, the event was held at a park rather close to my home that I had never explored... and I can't believe it.  It's only MORE than 700 acres!  I am ashamed to call myself a "local" and not to have even known where Banchee Reeks Park was!  Well, I do now.

And, I must say, it's glorious!  The November day of our event was particularly beautiful, and we were blessed with a sunny, 70 degree day. Sadly, I left my camera in the car during the walk, so we have only one picture to share with you from the walk - and it was taken from a camera phone.  I tried to get a few photos from our picnic site near the starting point of the trails, but these photos simply don't do the place justice.  It's a place you need to explore - several times - before you even get a true lay of the land.  I know my family and I will be back to further investigate the offerings of this park and the other trails. 

It was an awesome experience.  It was so awesome in fact, that I hope at some point my schedule with the kiddos will be less crazy and perhaps I can join in on some of the other walking events with the AVA or the Loudoun Walking Club.  Walking allows you to see even your every day surroundings differently... it's a different perspective. 

In my opinion, walking clubs are about committing yourself to "take time to smell the roses".  Being a Girl Scout Leader is about committing yourself to help a Daisy bloom, and become all she truly can be.  For now, I am content watching blossoming Daisies... but a point will come in my life when I have not only the desire, but the time, to smell the roses.

Learn more about life here in Loudoun County by exploring this blog and by stopping back by to read about new experiences.  If you have ideas on things you'd like to see in the blog, please contact me privately, I do want to be your resource for all things Loudoun!

For real estate information, visit and/or
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

EVERY Day is International Day in the US

My daughter's school has an "International Night" event each year.  This is the first year we've gone.  The goal, of course, is to find a fun way to orient the children to our global community as well as to celebrate the diverse heritage of children and families within the school and our local community. 

The evening started with a Parade of Flags.  Sixty countries were represented.  Then there are performances, which included Irish clog dancing and a martial arts demonstration by local groups. And, "trade show" style displays with artifacts and information from various countries. Many people were dressed in traditional dress from their country of origin.  It was really very nice.

A big part of the experience is the food sampling (which is free).  There was food from ALL over the world there.  Ironically, my children and I chose Pierogies (Polish), Potatoe Salad (German), Egg Rolls (Chinese), Scones (English) and Pasta Salad (from Mexico?? that's what they said). The ironic part is that we eat these at our house all the time. 

When I commented to that affect on Facebook, my friend responded that every day is International Day in the US.  And, especially when it comes to food, and especially in my house, that is true.  But, it was not always that way.

Traditional regional cuisine here is meat and potatoes, and in season (and if you had the money) blue crab. As a kid, pizza or speghetti was considered international food!

When I first had fetticini alfredo I was an adult. I didn't eat a taco until after I was married! I had Vietnamese food for the first time when I was about 27; and it wasn't that long ago that I tried Thai food or Mongolian food for the first time. 

But, the best is this: I didn't have Chinese food until I was 21...And, I was on a date.  Imagine how embarrassed I was that I didn't know what to do when they brought me 2 plates!  Here I was, not understanding why I was supposed to keep my rice on another plate, and  my date was eating with chopsticks (something I still can not do).  I am blushing just remembering how stupid I felt!

My husband also grew up locally, but his dad was from Pennsylvania and his family's diet was influenced by the German heritage.  When he was single (and younger), my husband used to eat a lot of German and Polish sausages, Sauerkraut, Pierogies and that kind of thing.

Now, at our home, we eat meat and potatoes; but THAT'S a rarity.  We eat tacos, fajitas, fancy nachos or something Mexican usually once a week.  We alternate Chinese or Pizza delivery on Friday nights.  Speghetti, fetticini, Chicken Carbonara or Parmesan are a norm. .... And we don't consider any of this "foreign" food, after all, we eat it in our own home.

The world has changed a lot.  My community is much more diverse.  And, so, " the world turns..." this diversity is now reflected in our restaurants, and even in the foods we eat at home.  As we're introduced to new cultures, tastes and traditions,  it is interesting to watch how it so quickly gets integrated into our own, very "American" experience.

My friend was right, in the US, it is "International Day" EVERY day.... and my taste buds are very grateful!  (My hips... well, not so much.)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Cheap Play Date At Sports Bounce

I am always on the lookout for new places to try and things to do with my kids.  With the economy being what it is, however, we have to watch our entertainment budget.... you may have noticed this theme with my earlier posts.
On Facebook, I've become a "fan" of "Moms Like Me - things to with your children in the greater Dulles area" (note the missing word "do" is not a typo here).  They give out lots of ideas, although not all are cheap options.  However, they pass on the deals when they're found, and you can, too. 

There, I learned about a special promotion at Sports Bounce of Loudoun.  You know the kind of place (like Pump It Up or Jumping Jacks), its an indoor, "inflatibles" playground, filled with moon-bouncy kinds of things.   They offer classes/playgroups, open play times, special events and host birthday and other parties.

Usually, these places are rather expensive.  But, this particular day they were offering a PJ Party midday for little ones for only $5; so I took my son.

It was a surprise.  I picked him up unexpectedly at preschool and we went. He had a blast!  There, you'll find moon bounces of different shapes and sizes, many with mazes and slides of different sizes.  They also had 2 playrooms that featured toys for playing ball, building, twirling, and all sorts of activities.  They truly had something for everyone.  My son loved it, and is begging to go back.
To learn more about Sports Bounce of Loudoun, click on this link to go to their site. 

To learn about other budget sensitive kids/family activities in and around Loudoun, stay tuned to this blog and check out our previous posts on these topics:

Again, here at we share with you highlights about the quality of living, based on my family's personal experience.  We hope you enjoy learning about the area.  If there are topics you'd like to see discussed or highlighted, please email me at  I'd like to be your source of information for living in Loudoun! 

For real estate information, visit my real estate blog: or Search for Homes or Find the Value of your Home at

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can't Afford To Go To The Movies Anymore?

Here's a quick tip.... Many of us love going to see movies in the theatre.  Watching a movie at home is great, but let's be honest; it's just not the same as the movie theatre atmosphere.

Tally Ho in Downtown Leesburg offers some solutions:

Fall Family Fun/$1 Shows:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thurdays at 3:30. they offer a special showing for only $1 per seat!  These are not new releases, but sometimes just seeing an old movie or TV show in a movie theatre is enough to make kids feel like it was a special day.... and where else can you do that for just a buck a person?  It's a different show each week.

Three Dollar Thursdays:  Current release movies are shown at Tally Ho, and ALL SEATS, ALL TIMES are available only $3!   This is the best deal in town, for sure! 

(Kids drinks are only 99cents, too.  But, the rest of their concessions are only slightly less expensive than the retail Fox, WorldGate or Regal theatres throughout our region.  So, promise the kids a trip to 7-11 to get a special snack afterwards  - no need to teach them to associate eating with going to the movies.)

Last week, I took my kids to see Jim Carey's "A Christmas Carol", for a total of $9 for all 3 of us.  In other theatres it's offered in 3-D and perhaps the special effects would have made a difference for me.  But, Tally Ho does not offer 3-D versions of movies... and for a movie like this I didn't think it would be necessary to keep my attention (i.e. "Up" was fabulous without the 3-D effects).  However, in this case, I wasn't impressed with the movie - I sure am glad I didn't pay normal movie admission prices to see this.

My son, on the other hand, saw Where the Wild Things Are with some friends last week.  He said it was slow, and I think he paid $9 for just his admission.

Friends have told me that 2012 is a great movie - I can't wait until Tally Ho has it....then I will plan a $3 Thursday viewing!

In this economy I just can not afford to pay the fees - even matinee costs - at most theatres.  For more great fun, check out Tally Ho's other offerings - like family comedy nights!

Got any other great options for entertaining yourself and your family.... especially for free or really inexpensively?  Please, add your comments.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Wartime Veteran or Not

My husband is a Vet, but he always downplays it. I think he feels guilty because he was not in the service during wartime and never had any of the assignments that so many soldiers are facing today.

Even so, he learned how to use weapons, how to face his fears and how to survive in the worst of times. Granted, he's not had to use these skills outside of training. But, post 9-11, I assure you that he wanted to. He was  so angry because he was too old to re-enlist.  He desperately wanted to do something, anything to contribute to us, as Americans, regaining our sense of security.

...And those are the kinds of men and women you'll find throughout all branches of our Armed Forces.  These are the men and women that want to protect us from the evils of the world, so much so, that they would even give their life if necessary.

The thing is, in the military you don't get to chose your assignments. Anyone of our men or women may be called into battle at any time.

Some are in the honor guard, like my step father K.E. Booth, Jr.

Some longed their entire lives to be a Marine...and then were injured in boot camp, ruining their dreams... like my son's friend, Mike.

Some were drafted and thrown on a ship in WWII, like my grandfather, RM Corbett.

Some went off to fight in the jungles of Vietnam, like many of my dad's friends.  Even if they returned, they were just never the same again.

Some were stationed in Alaska while praying for an assignment that would take them to the front lines during the first Gulf War.  Others were in the Gulf, just wanting to go home. These were my friends from school, Denny and Sam.

Some, even though they've never been to war have been called in to help in the face of hurricanes, natural disasters, and terrorism, here and abroad... like Mike, the husband of a friend of mine, who was assigned to body recovery detail at the Pentagon after 9-11.

So many, too many, are serving in Iraq, Afganistan or other places right now.... all putting their lives at risk to protect us here at home.   A recent client (Kevin) explained to me "It's not too bad over there.  The building I was in only got bombed twice."

Even those not overseas, are playing their role.  They are standing at the ready.... and we're so comforted that you are.

Some are at Fort Hood right now, like my son's friend, Luna; most of whom thought, at least until this week, that they were safe on base.   Oh, how we wish that had been true.

From my heart:
Thank you to ALL of you who are now standing up and saying "If you need me, I'm here.  If you don't, I'll do whatever you want me to do, until you do need me." ... and thank you to those that came before you and did the same thing.

We always have and we always will need you.  We don't want you to go to war, we want you at home, safe and sound with us.  But, it is only BECAUSE of you that "home" IS safe and sound for us.  

You are all you're all so very brave. Our country wouldn't even exist if it weren't for people just like you. 

And, always remember, whether you're sent to battle or not, you ARE protecting us - your family, your communities, our freedom.... in times of war and in times of peace....

for there would never be peace, without you. 


All photos were from my husband's year book from the
Fort Leonard Wood Training Camp, November 1981,
my husband was Platoon 2: Chrisner, B.G.

In yearbook photo he's the second one from the bottom, 4th from the left....
well, that was the first 100 pounds of him- he's put on an addition since then!

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Be "In The Know" In Your Community

Do you work, live or own property in Loudoun?  Do you like to be informed?  I do, and I am going to tell you how to do it.

As a resident, it's important to me to know about serious crimes that are going on around my home. Things like business robberies, hostage situations, murders, serious assaults... even though I'd like to think that things like these wouldn't happen in my community, no one is exempt, and I want to know if they do. 

I want to know about REAL Amber Alerts in a timely manner, and when there is a fugitive on the run.  It reminds me to keep my eyes open looking for threats and keeps me focused on trying to support my community by looking for these people.

I also want to know if my local government offices will be closing, because I often use their services, personally and professionally.

I want to know about weather related emergencies, like tornadoes, flash floods, or other sudden occurrences.

As a REALTOR, it's important to me to know of road closings (in Loudoun, in Fairfax or major arteries throughout the region)  due to accidents, floods, construction or other things.

As a mom, especially as a working mom, I need to know when school is being closed or let out early, if there is a lockdown order issued, or other time sensitive school related situations.  I also need to know when the federal government is closed, because weather related closings of the government mean no daycare for my son and no afterschool care for my daughter.

Loudoun Alert keeps me "in the know" on all these things.  I receive text messages and emails moments after they are sent through the system.  And, better yet, the messages come with no hype - just the facts.  Often, even if I am out of town, I know what is going on faster than people who are blocks away from, or in the middle of, an incident.  By the time they hear through the regular media or the grape vine, the story's been sensationalized and is greatly distorted.

Although I feared that being notified of all major incidents would frighten me, in reality it has helped me be informed and make sound decisions; and I also realize how lucky we are here in Loudoun with so few truly serious crimes.  I really appreciate this service, and I hope more Loudoun residents will sign up for it.  It is free, and to me, is invaluable.

Let's face it, Inquiring Minds Want to Know, and that means you!  You can sign up, it only takes a minute or so, and you can chose which alerts you want to get and how.  Just follow this link:


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