November 29, 2008

animal jungle...

Today we took the kids to Animal Jungle, so Cameron could buy a few items for his Russian Tortoise, 'Sheldon'. They had a blast and now want to make it a monthly family visit.

Here's some of the animals we saw:

trimming the tree...

(We did this on Wednesday night before Thankgiving, but I just remembered to post it).

Every year James sets up the tree with lights, the kids do all the decorating, we play Christmas music and I take all the photos. This year my camera was having some major lighting issues, so the photos have been turning out bad...ok, ok, really I still NEED to work on my indoor/lowlight photography skills...ugh.
But, on the plus side...the kid's tree turned out cute and we all had a great time.

The 'pooches'...

November 28, 2008

scenes from thanksgiving...

-One of the pumpkin pies (store bought crust, but homemade pie)...
-My brother Dan and my folks; ('Zoe' and 'Pop-Pop' to the kids), all joined us this year, instead of going to their house...our new tradition...
-It was Cameron's 11th birthday celebration, so he played his violin for us and blew candles out on the apple pie...
-The kids drew pictures on the newly painted blackboard wall...
-A relaxed, fun family day!!! (just sorry I forgot to take photos of the table and the turkey and other food...duh).

November 24, 2008

my friend, Dar, has new online shop!!!

It's called: DARVAHLOUS <---(link to site)....and she has created some wicked awesome vintage inspired art jewelry and more to come (ie: decorated bottles, book thongs, etc...)

Take a look and shop for a unique and gorgeous Christmas gift, Birthday gift, or just for your FABULOUS self!

check back often to see more stuff she'll create!!!

Congrats Dar! Love you much!!!

working on this...

This is mine:

...and soon it will look close to this one:

(This is Ali Edwards' Printer's Tray)

I have to trim pictures and add embellishments and miniatures....sweet!!!

November 23, 2008

Yarn Gift Basket...

I'm going to our 'Yarn for Breakfast' MeetUp group's Christmas Party soon and need a yarn gift basket. Here's some of my ideas:

-Funky Stitch Markers, Malabrigo Yarn, and a sheep!

November 18, 2008

Help us out...

REMINDER!! Tomorrow, November 19, 2008 at 1pm, the Virginia Mandated Benefits Commission (MBC) will announce its recommendation regarding House Bill 1588. This is a crucial time for families in Virginia that are dealing with the realities of autism.

HB 1588 will provides up to $36,000 a year in coverage for life-changing treatments, including applied behavior analysis, for children with autism. But first, the bill must receive a favorable recommendation from the MBC.

Virginians have responded to the call for action, and have inundated the members of the MBC with phone calls and e-mails. You've told them your stories. You have educated them politely and persistently, repeating the following message:
Autism is treatable. Insurance should cover treatment. Virginia families need help now!

It's time to remind the members of the MBC one last time.


1. CONTACT THE MBC MEMBERS ONE MORE TIME! Today and tomorrow before the MBC meeting it is crucial that every legislator who sits on the MBC hear this clear message over and over: Autism is treatable. Insurance should cover treatment. Be polite and persistent. Ask them to say "yes" to our children (who so often hear the word "no") and to HB 1588.

The Commission Members are:
Delegate Clay Athey - (540) 635-2123
Delegate Tim Hugo - (703) 968-4101
Delegate Terry Kilgore - (276) 386-7011
Delegate Donald Merricks - (434) 836-3370
Senator George Barker - (703) 303-1426
Senator A. Donald McEachin - (804) 226-4111

No matter what district you live in, please contact all of these legislators.

2. SEND AN EMAIL to the legislators on the Commission! It's very simple. You don't even need to know their email address! Just click and send!

3. ATTEND THE MBC MEETING ON WEDNESDAY. The MBC was completely surprised by the large show of support at the hearing in September. Let's show them again that autism is something that affects countless families across the Commonwealth. Meet by the clock just outside the General Assembly Building in Richmond at 12:30 pm. (For information about parking, please click here.) Please wear red and come to stand united as MBC votes on the future of our children.

4. FORWARD THIS ACTION ALERT to everyone you know! For those who are constantly looking for ways to provide support to families struggling with the challenges of autism, this is a fantastic, easy way to step up. Ask them to contact each of these legislators in support of HB 1588. Ask them to ask everyone they know to do they same. We need to flood their phone lines, fax lines and e-mail inboxes.

5. REGISTER AT AUTISM VOTES! It’s quick and easy. You will then receive e-mail alerts any time action needs to be taken in the Commonwealth. Ask your friends, neighbors and family to register at Autism Votes as well. We need thousands of voices if we plan to succeed in our effort to end discrimination against our loved ones with autism.

The clock is ticking and it is crucial that we speak for our children NOW. Thank you for your commitment to making insurance coverage for autism a reality in Virginia.

For more information on the Virginia autism insurance initiative, go to

Warm regards,
Judith Ursitti
Regional Director State Advocacy Relations
Autism Speaks

November 17, 2008

We'll be making these Thanksgiving day....

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

24 chocolate-striped shortbread cookies
12-ounce package of chocolate chips
24 marshmallows
tube of yellow decorators' frosting

1. Set the chocolate-striped cookies stripes down on a wax-paper-covered tray, spacing them well apart.

2. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler.

3. One at a time, stick a wooden toothpick into a marshmallow, dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and promptly center it atop a cookie.

4. Using a second toothpick to lightly hold down the marshmallow, carefully pull out the first toothpick.

5. Chill the hats until the chocolate sets, then pipe a yellow decorators' frosting buckle on the front of each hat.




Monday, November 17, 2008
6:30 p.m.?9:00 p.m.
Landstown High School
2001 Concert Drive
Virginia Beach, Virginia
(off Princess Anne Road by the Amphitheater)

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November 16, 2008


photo by Peg Graham

Did you know...

On March 16, 1621 , what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out "Welcome" (in English!).

His name was Samoset and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast. After staying the night Samoset left the next day. He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto who spoke better English than Samoset. Squanto told the Pilgrims of his voyages across the ocean and his visits to England and Spain. It was in England where he had learned English.

Squanto's importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help. It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers. He taught them how to plant the Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seeds and fish in each mound. The decaying fish fertilized the corn. He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.

The harvest in October was very successful and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter. There was corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires.

The Pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had beaten the odds and it was time to celebrate.

The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate - November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

In 1817 New York State had adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

November 12, 2008

yummy yarn...


House Bill 1588...

(letter I sent to Randy Forbes- Chesapeake, VA Congressman: via Nicole Aponte)

(PLEASE take the time to help us parents who have children w/ Autism and forward this letter with your own adjustments to your local Congressman, Thanks!)

At the upcoming meeting on November 19, the Virginia Mandated Benefits Commission will announce its recommendation regarding House Bill 1588, the autism insurance reform bill. I am writing to ask that you support this bill as a member of the Commission and that you add your voice to a recommendation that the Virginia legislature move towards passage of this bill as well.
HB 1588 will require private insurance companies to provide coverage of medically necessary, evidence-based autism treatments and therapies, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.
Right now, 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism according to the CDC. This is a staggering number. This means that thousands of families in Virginia are affected and that thousands of families are paying out-of-pocket for the treatments that their child needs, even though they have private health insurance.
I am asking that you help stop insurance companies from blatantly discriminating against children with an autism diagnosis by supporting HB 1588 on November 19. Autism is treatable. Insurance should cover treatment. Virginia families need help now!

I am the mother of a son with Autism. The majority of the therapies & treatments that are currently assisting these children to obtain a better quality of life are not affordable for American families. Even families with health insurance are often left in the dark and with few options because the insurances refuse to pay for the therapies claiming they are only experimental or useful for some and not all. This could be said of many things-including psychology and modern medicine. But, parents need options. When 1 in every 150 children in our present time is diagnosed with Autism, we need a myriad of strategies available to us to find the one that best suits our children that are covered by the health insurance. We could have have a nation in the future generation of adults with autism...unable to live independently and fulfill their God given right to success and pursuit of happiness. Please support this bill and other bills to provide health insurance
coverage for Autism therapies like ABA-Applied Behavioral Analysis, RDI-Relationship Development Intervention, Speech & Occupational Therapy, Listening Therapy & Auditory Integration Therapy and Biomedical Treatment- Chelation therapy, Antioxidant therapy, etc.

Thank You for your time,
Margaret A. Graham

November 10, 2008

New Blog...

What can I say? I like change.
I decided to start a new blog here on Blogger and once I've transferred everything from Typepad and saved the archives on disc, then this will be my main blog and Typepad will be nixed.
(Dude...that'll save me $8.95 a month too!)

So...make sure to save
this link on your blog...k?
The name is:

peace out...