Welcome to Before and After!

This is a new project I've decided to undertake... each week I will post pictures depicting a "Before" and "After."  I've always been fond of comparing a person's, place's, or thing's history, it's past and present, to see its evolution and progress through time.  Whether it be people I love, places from my past, or even seemingly ordinary everyday objects, I think there's value in seeing how far (or even low) something or someone has come, and how they've touched our lives.

For its "inaugural" post, I will most likely be posting about one of my favorite people in the world:  my son Jeromy.  I hope you all enjoy them!  Stay tuned for more!

Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins.... and coffee!

This is a very easy and fast recipe for a nice, delicious breakfast treat.  It's very simple to do, takes very little time, and plus, who wouldn't love chocolate in the morning, right?  This recipe will yield 6 regular size muffins, so you can double or triple it as needed:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease or line your muffin tin.

Combine in bowl:

1       cup of Bisquick (or other baking mix)
1/4   cup of sugar
1/3   cup of milk
1 T.   vegetable oil
1       egg

Mix well until you get a smooth, thick batter.  Then fold the following into the batter:  1/2 cup of chocolate chips, about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a splash of milk.  Pour batter into your muffin tin and bake for about 15 minutes....and your done!  

This recipe is even faster to complete when you mix it using a Magic Bullet blender... if you're not sure what that is, google it!  I actually found this recipe in the book that came with the blender.  Very easy, quick cleaup...so awesome!

Enjoy it with your favorite cup of coffee.  Jeromy absolutely loves these muffins and asks for them almost every morning.  Of course, they are a once-in-a-while treat since they are oh-so chocolate-y.  But I must admit, I often can't resist making them, as they are so delicious!

Happy eating!!


This past Friday (the 22nd) Jeromy and the other "Tweens" in our homeschool group went on a fun-filled field trip to the A.C. Moore at The Avenue in White Marsh, where they took part in the "Dream It. Create It. Share It." workshop.  This FREE field trip offered by select A.C. Moore stores "...is designed around the visual arts, artistic disciplines and life applications. While exploring the ultimate arts and crafts destination, students will discover new art mediums, tools and techniques while discussing the creative process."*  The children had a wonderful time creating their very own Dreamboards, which showcases what they dream of in their creative little ones, and/or fond memories they cherish.  These are Jeromy's creations:

This first dreamboard showcases Jeromy's love of all things rugged: Alaska, outdoor fun, motorcycles (ok, so all they had was a scooter sticker, but it's supposed to be a motorcycle!), and baseball.

This dreamboard again shows his love of Alaska, and shows his affinity for dogs. He chose the soccer ball because he at one time played soccer, the map because he wants to see the world, and the gecko wood decal because he's secretly wishing I will allow him to get a gecko soon.

Again here we see Alaska on the dreamboard, plus Jeromy's love of sports. The rat peeking out of the football helmet represents his two pet rats, and the other animals are there becauese...wel, he loves animals! The jukebox is for his passion for music, and the shades because he's one cool kid!

A special thank you goes out to Miss Irina for organizing this trip for the Tweens, and to Miss Jamie of A.C. Moore for guiding the children on such a fun day!

* For more information, check out this SITE.

A bloggers work...

UPDATE:  Since I've initiated my "blog makeover," I'm finding that some of my post pictures are mysteriously disappearing.  I will be working to restore them as soon as possible.  In the meantime...sorry for the empty spaces!

As you can tell my blog has undergone a bit of a makeover.  I've always had a bit of a short attention span, hence my inability to just leave things be!  I hope you all like the new theme, and ask that you bear with me as I continue to update and polish it.  Unfortunately, due to some kind of freakish technical error, somehow all past comments on my posts have disappeared..eek!  Oh well, life will go on... free free to leave any tips or comments!  Thanks!

We will never forget...

This Memorial Day we honor those of you who selflessly gave all for the preservation of the very ideal that is America, and for the freedom of all her citizens.  To the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country...we will never forget you.  

*photo courtesy of this Site

For all Veterans who have served in the past... we are grateful to you.

My dad:  Andres N. Fajardo
Petty Officer First Class
United States Navy, Retired

To those still serving in the Armed Forces...we thank you and pray for your safe return home.

*photo courtesy of this Site

Mom's Job Description


POSITION: Mother, Mom, Mama

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work, in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required -- including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties are also required; frequently, on very short notice.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite your tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat -- in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include, floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18, because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it, and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: No health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered -- however, this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life, if you play your cards right.

* taken from this SITE


string + straws + tissue paper = FUN!!

Our homeschool group's "Re-Useful Crafts" co-op is one of Jeromy's favorite activities to attend. The projects are intended to not only  allow the kids to express their creative genuises, but it's also a fun way to learn how to recycle simple items at home to make home-made toys, decorations, gifts, and lots more.  Going green and making toys? A recipe for success!  At the last event the kids learned how to make tetrahedral kites using only drinking straws, string, and tissue paper.  Here are some photos from that fun day:

getting the strings through the straws was tricky...

learning how to tie a square knot was fun!

more kite assembly photos...


One nice windy day, Jeromy is going to take this bad boy for a spin!