Five Favorites



Joining Hallie this week for Five Favorites

1. The drive up Hwy 70 E from Emerald Isle, NC to Cedar Island, NC.  Seriously. Good ol’ Blue Highway driving past tiny towns and lots of swamp land and gorgeous scenery. A drive I would willingly make anytime.  

2. The Cedar Island, NC ferry terminal. Wow, I couldn’t believe how nice it was, bathrooms, vending machines (like my kids need an excuse lol) and a gorgeous view. Here are some shots. 

016 017 018 019


3. This commercial, which my kids know by heart.

4. Sweet Tea…

like the Cravin’ Melon song says, on the 8th day, God made sweet tea

5. Finally, we’ve lived without cable for 3+ years now. Happily. Last week we went on vacation and got cable in our room at the house for the week. And we realized, over the last year we were definitely missing something from cable. 


All about the beards and the ducks. AND the family values



The family that prays together, stays together. Every episode.

And more Si too 🙂


Urgent Prayer Request

For those who have not already heard, Thomas Peters of American Papist, National Organization for Marriage, and Catholic Vote sustained a broken C5 vertebrae in a diving accident on July 16. This is of special consideration to our family as Jeff injured the same vertebrae in a diving accident on July 18 of 1980. Thomas, his wife Natalie, and their families can really use our prayers and intentions right now. If you would like more information on his recovery and information on cards, visitation etc please check out this site set up to chronicle Thom’s recovery. 

God our father, we pray that you extend your healing to Thomas and his family during this time and we ask for the intercession of St Gemma Galgani on Thom’s behalf for healing and recovery. Amen.

St Anne

Today we begin the novena to St Anne. If you need reminders (don’t we all) please check out Pray More Novenas and get on their mailing list.

St Anne is the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a child conceived immaculately and in advanced age after a lifetime of barrenness.

I have prayed this novena for about the last five years every year. I usually have a couple of intentions. And one of them consistently for the last three years is no longer on that list. I am not praying for a fourth child. No, I’m not pregnant either. I’ve decided this intention, which I have prayed for in every single novena I have prayed in the last three years, is not God’s will. Apparently storming heaven and begging the saints to join me in prayer has yielded results, just not the one I wanted.

This year I pray asking St Anne for one intention and one only, acceptance of God’s will. This morning in the Divine Office the morning reading was this:

Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,
and naked I shall go back again.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord!
We accept good things from God;
and should we not accept evil?

Job 1:21, 2:10b

And the Responsory was:

Incline my heart according to your will, O God.

So, Saint Anne, please, I ask you to pray for me to accept the will of God. To put aside my own personal wants and embrace the fullness of God’s will.

Five Favorites


1. Picnics

It’s one of my favorite things of summer. From the impromptu lunches when my dad would join us on his break at the pool for lunch when we were kids, to intentionally packed extravaganzas in a meadow or on the beach, to unintentional let’s get McDonald’s and go park somewhere fun, I love picnics. I love the idea of packing up food to eat somewhere were there isn’t normally that food. I love enjoying a moment with fun “picnic food”. Probably also why I love tail-gating…

image courtesy of NY Times

2. Boardwalks

This is our closest one:

photo courtesy Tish Lloyd

It has the games, the rides, the food. And it has Britt’s Doughnuts. No other boardwalk can boast that.

3. Fair/Boardwalk Food

Funnel Cake, Cotton Candy, Candy Apples, Elephant Ears…get in my belly! (we only got cotton candy last time though)

4. When stuff works

I like it when appliances and computer programs and technology and everything else just,  you know, works like it’s supposed to

5. Chocolate

Why, uh, duh, because it’s chocolate!

Light in Darkness

As usual, I’m a day late for Maria’s meme Light in Darkness.

Could you imagine being born poor with addicted parents and  being legally blind? Could you imagine being poor without a father and getting hit by a freight train and losing both your legs? Well, that’s what happened to Dartanyon Crockett in the first situation and Leroy Sutton in the second. Could you imagine being the producer for ESPN who had to put together a show on how these two young men became best friends and family to each other on the wrestling team in high school? The producer who was supposed to walk away after the show was aired but chose not to?

It began as the story of Dartanyon and Leroy and how they overcame obstacles together. It ended with Dartanyon, Leroy and producer Lisa Finn who refused to walk away and let them slip into the crime and poverty of that part of Cleveland, OH. Read the article Lisa wrote and watch the piece.  It tells beautifully why Lisa stayed.


Happy Birthday Big Girl!

Saturday was Shelby’s seventh birthday.

Her celebration kind of started the week before though when she got her first present, a Vanellope von Schweetz doll from Gigi and Papa (my parents). Shelby loves dolls that look like “little girls” rather than babies and I don’t allow Bratz, so Vanellope is a welcome addition at our house. Plus, we love Wreck It Ralph. We love it so much, that when we opened the box, the boys asked if Shelby had to share her Vanellope doll!


Shelby brushing/teasing Vanellope’s hair

The previous weekend we had visited my parents and even though we did not have a birthday celebration, it was a chance for Shelby to see her grandparents, uncles and cousins. Then on Sunday of the previous weekend we visited Shelby’s Mimi (Jeff’s mom) and Shelby got a glow wand and a few other items during our visit.

Saturday morning started out with breakfast. Shelby got to pick her own.

Shelby's Birthday Breakfast

Shelby’s Birthday Breakfast


Shelby chose Snow Cream ice cream and popcorn for breakfast. She also got unlimited use of the iPad for the day.

And no breakfast is complete without bacon.


Mmmm, bacon


For lunch we had gluten free pizza with bacon and pepperoni. Shelby preferred just the bacon and pepperoni so, since it was her day, she got what she wanted. The boys helped top the pizza.






I ended up making a second pizza for myself LOADED with veggies this one was so yummy.

When it’s your birthday, you get to do a ton of stuff you love, so I let Shelby do one thing she REALLY loves that she never gets to do. Trash her room.


Embrace the chaos


That’s actually Shelby’s arm and body in the lower left side of that pic, she didn’t want to be in it. A true artist, she wants her art to speak for itself!

I made Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Devils Food Cake for the evening. It was really good. Since all Betty Crocker’s frostings are gluten free we had quite the choice. Joey chose to help me frost it with cream cheese frosting. I didn’t get a pic though.

When Jeff got home from work we sang and ate cake first. Shelby worked hard to blow all her candles out. This is the first year she was able to do it and knew what to do! Then we opened presents I didn’t get any pics as I was trying to “manage” the situation. Shelby got an Elmo guitar, Rosita and Abby Cadabby characters who are on a skateboard and roller skates, respectively; a Princess story book, her own pink cups and tropical tic tacs. She felt like she got a haul! Then we went out for dinner.

Our original dinner plan was to go to Zaxby’s but the Zaxby’s by us closed down! So we made a hasty plan B and headed to Buffalo Wild Wings. The kids enjoyed corn puppies and Jeff and I got wings and an entree. The kids had fun watching the variety of games and playing the games on the kid menus.

After dinner we headed down to the Carolina Beach boardwalk. The boardwalk is a far cry from its heyday, but an amusement company sets up rides each summer and there is Britt’s Doughnuts which are world famous. Shelby and I rode the carousel and the whole family rode the Pirate ship ride. The boys also did the fun house. We walked the boardwalk and being it was a holiday weekend and a weekend period, the line for Britt’s was 30+ minutes long! We considered sno-cones before deciding they might be a bit messier than we had energy for so we got a bag of cotton candy and as the sun was setting headed home.

Sunday after mass, we went in the afternoon to Jeff’s dad and step-mom’s town/community to swim at their pool. After an afternoon of swimming we joined them for dinner, more cake, and ice cream. They are getting Shelby a custom bean bag chair for her room but it will come in the next week or so.

I was scarce on pictures of actual celebration because, I was celebrating. But we had a great time and love our big girl!

In Memorium

Jeff and Jim

Jeffrey Michael Kosmala (right)
August 3, 1960-July 5, 2013

The above picture was taken at Disney World. On the left is my Uncle Jim and on the right is my Uncle Jeff. On Friday afternoon, Jeff lost his battle with cancer and won the war becoming part of the Church Triumphant.  He was my mom’s younger brother. They were, in my mind at least, best friends of childhood doing everything together. My grandmother,  forever a mom of six, used to send them outside of their home in Buffalo, NY to play while she tended to the other children. An adventure ensued including a memorable bike ride clear across the city to their grandmother’s house without their mother’s knowledge or permission. My mom remembers riding their bikes around and suddenly turning to her brother and saying, “Jeff, this is the way to Grandma’s house!” Their grandmother and their great-aunt aided and abetted them returning to their home without my grandparents knowledge until my great-grandmother told my grandmother the story years after they were adults and the statute of limitations was long up. One Thanksgiving, Jeff and his younger brother, my uncle and Godfather Jim, decided to “smoke a woodchuck” out of its hole and set a huge field on fire. They went back to the house and waited it out once they found out the fire department was on their way. Jeff loved his sleep. So much so that we whispered as kids at my grandma’s, “Uncle Jeff is sleeping,  you have to be quiet!” This was so ingrained in me that when I met with my grandparents and all my aunts, uncles and cousins at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving 2007 with a sixteen-month-old and two-month-old (they were all in town as my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary was that weekend and my cousin Andy had just been diagnosed with brain cancer and was being treated at Duke), and in the middle of the night I had to weave my way with a nursing baby still attached to me and a LOUD one-year-old wanting milk toddling next to me, all I could think was, “You  need to apologize to Uncle Jeff in the morning for waking him.” I did apologize and Jeff was good-natured about the whole incident saying, “Kristen, I remember when YOU were the crying baby and LOUD one-year old.” He had a quiet nature and a quick laugh. He was a civil engineer for many years until his Type I diabetes caused him to lose his sight. He then got a job working at the Health Department. Jeff might have been particular but he was agreeable. Each year my grandparents and all the “kids” who live in New York and their kids travel to the Jersey Shore for a week. My aunts devised an instrument of torture a device to evenly split, to the penny, the cost called “The Grid.” It has always been divided by household and Jeff, who was married only briefly and never had any children, paid into it the same as everyone else. He never objected. He never refused. He slept for many years on a beach chair out on the balcony to give his siblings with children beds.  He had one Godchild, my brother, Ben. For many years I thought of Jeff by what he didn’t have in comparison to his siblings. No spouse, no kids, health that was up in the air. But in reality, he had a lot. He had parents who loved him and no matter what trial or tribulation stood by him. Who were there for him even in death as they had been in life. He had five awesome siblings. Four sisters and one brother. Siblings who put everything on hold to take him to his “happy place” Disney World, last December to recreate their road trips as kids growing up and make it, as my mother said, his “Make a Wish” trip. Siblings who went in together as his health was deteriorating to buy him a tremendous large screen tv. He had nieces and nephews who loved and adored him. So many in this world wish for those things and don’t get them. It comforts us all to know he passed from this world peacefully. He is no doubt laughing at my two little boys who are arguing and loudly playing the Wii right now. And at me when they crawl under the table at a restaurant and I hiss at them to get in their seats NOW or they will regret the decision otherwise. He may not be with us physically any longer, but he will never leave us. He will be at every dinner table when we conclude grace saying, “Dear Jesus, bless our food and our family and forever Andy and (now added) Jeff.” And so many other times. I pray for peace for my mom and her brother and sisters and my grandparents. Requiescat In Pace, Jeff. Well done, my good and faithful servant.

Disney Kosmala

From their “Make a Wish” trip to Disney World
l-r Kristy, Sharon, Amy, Jeff, Jim and Lynn (my mom)

Disney Kosmala 2

Five Favorites



1. Barbecue.

Around here (eastern NC) barbecue is a noun. And it is pork. In a vinegar sauce. Usually with coleslaw. And it is good, good. I like other kinds, but eastern NC barbecue will always have a special place in my heart.

2. Grilling

A verb, haha. We’ve converted our propane grill to charcoal and enjoy steaks, burgers and dogs regularly.

3. The brave ones in Texas in blue.

It’s not easy to be the target of an angry mob in orange that is intent on keeping murder of unborn infants legal. Particularly when they are shouting “Hail Satan!” Keep standing strong my brothers and sisters there fighting the good fight. You are in our prayers.

4. The sun

It’s made an appearance today. Through rain, albeit, but an appearance nonetheless!

5. This girl right here:



My big girl who will be 7 on Saturday. Seven. So difficult to believe.