Saturday, February 27, 2010


WOO HOO #1: It is an awesome thing that the islands of Hawaii have been spared from the tsunami they feared was heading that way.

WOO HOO #2: My Cub Scout Pack (Pack 317) had their Blue & Gold Banquet tonight and it was just AMAZING! We had SO MUCH FUN! I can't even begin to tell you. While most of the Packs out there went with the 100th Anniversary of Scouting / Birthday theme, we chose to do something a little different -- we did STAR WARS! I contacted members from the 501st Legion. They showed up in full costume and the boys were AMAZED! We had Storm Troopers, an Emperial Guard and even Boba Fett himself! It was AMAZING! We had them do the table judging and we were proud to present the boys that were Webelos II with their Arrow of Light awards (the highest rank you can earn in Cub Scouts). Our silent auction earned our Pack almost $3,000!!! It was exhausting for our coordinator but the fruits of her efforts was an event these boys will not soon forget. (Me too).

WOO HOO #3: Next weekend will be an overnight for Josh and I for Webelos Woods. I'm excited to get a night away with just he and I.

Tsunami Fears for Hawaii -- please pray for my sister

This morning there was a large earthquake off the coast of Chile which has left Hawaii (where my sister lives) under a tsunami warning. Please keep her and her family in your prayers! At least they have some warning time but ... wow... the thought of potentially losing everything... what do you do?

Pray. That's all we can do. So please join me in prayer for the people of Hawaii.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Thanks for praying for Garrett

For years I've been asking off and on for prayers for my good friend, JD Ross and his son Garrett. He has a blog and the latest round of prayer requests were answered! And Garrett's heart is still healthy! Praise the Lord.

Want to read about a miracle child that God is using in wonderful ways to spread the word of hope and faith... and organ donation? Read Garrett's Journey and be inspired by JD's testimony and faith... If you're not inspired, check your pulse! It's an amazing journey this child has been on!

Motherhood -- a Blessing?

A great blog I follow called Heavenly Homemakers had an entry today called "Children... A Blessing?" And it was so poignant I wanted to direct you her way so you could read it (and comment) for yourself. Check it out HERE.

My comment to the verbiage exchange: I love all of this discussion. Motherhood: a blessing and a curse. It's a job that you won't see the fruits of your labors until they're in their 20s or maybe even their 30s. It's thankless and wonderful... and tiring and inspiring. It's the epitome of hope to make the world a better place.
BUT... on those days ... like I had this morning... I just say to myself, "Now I know why some species eat their young."

Yes, it's been one o' those days! It'll get better... but for now... yeah, that's how I feel.

Friday Fill Ins

Have fun with today's Friday Fill-Ins.

1. A cup of tea with some honey is a great way to start your chilly winter morning.
2. The laughter of my children makes a place feel like home.
3. Everything has its beauty whether you appreciate it or not.
4. How can you NOT love the taste of strawberries?
5. Art makes me inspired if I'm involved in the creation of it but admiring the "masterpieces" bores me to tears.
6. LOL I just noticed I forgot to dry my hair.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to baking a cake with Joshua for the cake contest tomorrow, tomorrow my plans include attending and conducting our Pack's Blue & Gold Banquet and Sunday, I want to go to church and RELAX!

I'm linked to: Friday Fill Ins

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thankful Thursdays!

It’s that time of week again! Time to list what you are thankful for. This week we are doing things that start with the letter “G.”
  • God's grace
  • Girlfriends -- though I don't get to see them nearly as much
  • Gidget -- my first female Boston Terrier (R.I.P.)
  • Grandparents -- mine are all gone but I treasure the memories that I had with them and the ones that MY boys are making with theirs now
  • Giggles -- when they fill my house, everything is at peace!
  • Gone With The Wind -- who doesn't LOVE a great classic?
  • Gum -- I have never had an addiction in my life... but I think my mom and grandmother would have professed my addiction to gum (it's not there any longer though I DO like it -- makes my jaws tired now)
  • Games -- I love all kinds of games and when my kids are playing them and getting along.... it's a GOOD THING!!
  • Gobstoppers -- Who doesn't like a Gobstopper? Willie Wonka... yummy!

What are YOU thankful for?

I'm linked to: Thankful Thursdays at The Mommy Files

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The burdens and blessings of homeschooling and what led us down this path

We are playing "catch up" in our lessons this week, partly because with all the upheaval in our home lately getting ready for bambino #3, we've had some weekday errands to run. We've run them which means that we're now "behind" (if there really IS such a thing when you home school) seeing that Josh is already so further advanced academically than his public school peers it hardly seems like he's "behind" but when we don't get to the "core" of my lesson plans -- I consider us "behind." And so it stands. Therefore, while the boys are enjoying their free time before bedtime laughing over America's Funniest Videos (yes, Andy found the extra remote much to their delight), I thought I'd do a little entry on the old bloggidy-blog.

I haven't told many people the reason behind WHY we were homeschooling so I figure--no time like the present, right? Grab yourself a nice glass of iced sweet tea and sit for a spell. Welcome to my journey.

I live in a very "privileged" area. Children in my neighborhood do not go without. Many are in possession of every type and brand of electronic gaming system known to man. Many of them play numerous sports and are involved in many expensive extra-curricular academic clubs. Many of them wear nothing but name brand clothing and have several pairs of ultra expensive shoes. These children live in a state of excess. As such, many of them will be given no chance to earn their way through life because their parents feel they are exceptional and therefore entitled and the children inherit this entitlement mindset. Quite sad.

While living in a nice area has its definite pro's, many people living on the "other side" of the grass, don't realize it's also home to many con's. It's really a blessing and a curse at the same time.

Honestly, I wish we lived in a melting pot of people of different ethnic groups, nationalities, socio-economic levels and educational backgrounds just for the sake of diversity and learning to appreciate people's GIFTS and talents rather than the fact that so and so has FOUR guitars and the new Madden NFL game. We are in a traditionally Caucasian neighborhood. I had one close friend of another ethnicity but she moved away (waaah!) Otherwise, I'm mostly surrounded by people that tend to look alike.

And, if you've read my other posts, you'll remember that I'm a very, VERY low maintenance woman in a very high maintenance "Stepford Wife"-ish neighborhood. I don't tan. I don't shop. I don't drive a BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes or anything like that. I don't have my teeth bleached. I don't have my clothes dry cleaned. I don't have my hair highlighted. I don't have my nails done. I don't go for spa days. I don't have a gym membership. I don't do "lunch dates" at the country club. I don't mind going out -- if need be -- without make up while wearing sweats and tennis shoes and having a hat to hide the hair. Andy has called me high maintenance BECAUSE I'm so low maintenance (does that even make sense?) I will confess, while I have your attention however, that my one love is my kitchen ...and I DO love my kitchen gadgets! I do allow myself to be spoiled with awesome kitchen gadgets! :)

But I digress. That's a bit of history on the WHERE and ME of the situation, but now back to the SCHOOL situation. I will admit that the school district here is purportedly a good one. The elementary school in my neighborhood is labeled "Exemplary" which is the highest ranking they can attain. So, after moving here, I started thinking it is obviously a good school. I'm sure on many levels it is.

Josh didn't start out at the local public school. Since he has a late birthday (May), I didn't want him to be the youngest in his class. I wanted to give him an additional year to mature both mentally and socially. Therefore, he went to private school for Kindergarten and Developmental First. (Just FYI - Developmental First is more advanced than K but not as challenging as first grade.) However, since we were paying out the nose for school (property) taxes, it seemed only fitting to at least give the local public school a TRY.

Also, I didn't want Josh in the public school half-day kindergarten because I had a newborn (Drew) and to me, it seemed like they really couldn't accomplish much in terms of "schooling" when they're only there for half a day. I wanted him in FULL DAY kindergarten since he'd been used to a full day program since he was in a daycare/learning environment from 6 weeks of life on. So, he attended K at the private school and then D1. (Late starts (or D-1 depending on where we live) will be the choice I make for all three kids regardless of where they go...but that's just for my own personal reasons.) :)

So, back to Josh. After K and D-1, he started first grade at the local public school and honestly, it was a good year. We had a teacher who was new to both teaching and this school. She was fantastic. Then, second grade was upon us. We discovered that with the amount of children in his specific grade level, the school was having to add a new teacher to accommodate for the large number every year and as luck would have it, he got the new teacher. She was new to the school, but not to teaching and was EXCEPTIONAL! She truly knew what kind of learning environment he needed to excel...and he did. It was AMAZING!

Then, we get to THE year. The third grade year. The second week of school -- SECOND WEEK -- the kid comes home and asks me, "Mom, what is tax?" (or so I thought that was what he was asking). I explained to him something to the effect that "taxes are what the government collects from mommy's and daddy's income to help pay for the government employees to run the country." He gave me that quizzical look of that clearly demonstrated to me that I was completely misunderstanding him. He said, "No, Mom. TAKS. Every day Mrs. _____ says, "If you don't learn this, you won't pass the TAKS test and you won't graduate 3rd grade."" I was completely taken aback. I was sure he was exaggerating -- you know how kids tend to exaggerate things, right? Yeah, well, apparently I was wrong. This happened day after day and week after week.

So, my son was just in the beginning of the madness by entering third grade but by being a den leader and Cubmaster for the school's Cub Scout Pack, I was involved with parents of boys in all grades at that school from first through fourth grade and even parents of the 5th graders at the Intermediate school where our Webelos II's go for 1/2 a year before they bridge over into Boy Scouts. As such, I'd been made well aware of the stresses placed upon these kids at TAKS time. A good friend of mine went to the school on several occasions to care for her diabetic daughter during TAKS time and there were children in the nurse's office who has been throwing up. The cause of the illness? STRESS from the stupid TAKS TEST! During TAKS test time, the school is basically in lock down mode. NO parents are allowed to come eat lunch with their kids. No recess is had. No fun. No being kids. No talking in the halls. No nothing. They put these kids through the freakin wringer for a stupid test. It's BEYOND irritating -- as a parent -- that they're stressing out 3rd graders for what??? The sake of a test? Get OVER yourselves! But, by being plugged into the other parents like that, I knew full well what was coming in the 3rd grade when he started the year. Did I realize that it was going to be an issue that was pounded into their heads, hearts and minds from day one? Absolutely not. Strike one.

So, when Josh started to struggle with math in her classroom, I became concerned. I asked, "Should I put him in Sylvan? Do I need to tutor him? Can you send home extra worksheets? What can I do to help? Can you tutor him?" My questions were endless and went basically unanswered. She only suggested that she would begin tutoring in math but only covering what was on the TAKS test and she wouldn't start until late December because that was when they started prepping for the TAKS test. She was more worried about her job than helping my son! ??? Yeah, thanks a lot. Strike two.

I opted to put him in tutoring with a 4th grade teacher at that school. Things were going well until he came out one day and was showing me what they were working on. He said, "Well, they are doing it like this in third grade, but we don't do it like that in 4th grade so I'm showing him how we do it now." So, no consistency within the school even? Nice. Strike three.

Now, the school Josh attended is also a "resource school" meaning that there are several programs offered at this school not offered at other schools. They have a Speech Program and they have a Dyslexia program as well as other special education need programs. So, as such, there are a few children that aren't within the school's boundaries but that do attend there because of their special needs status. I have no problem with this. However, I do have a problem when the the teacher is obviously unprepared on how to handle the one or two autistic children that are placed in her care. Should the teacher seriously have to focus all of her attentions repeatedly on those two students throughout the day to the detriment of the other students? Of course not, but that's exactly what started to happen. They didn't prepare her to handle them. I think that the parent and teacher of the ones that aren't DISCIPLINE problems but just have some special needs can DEFINITELY sit down and have a meeting of how to handle things. She obviously did not and it was at the detriment of her entire classroom. Strike four.

Mind you, I have NO PROBLEM with mainstreaming "autistic" children so long as they can do the work, behave themselves and handle themselves accordingly OR that they have a system of checks and balances so that when they start to lose their concentration levels -- they have a place they CAN "check out" for a few. I wouldn't want to have a special needs child and s/he not be able to participate in "life" because of their "disability"... but I certainly wouldn't want it to be to the detriment of other children. If they are a discipline problem (like the two in Joshua's classroom) or unable to handle the traditional school environment, a caregiver needs to be present with them all day to handle things as they come up. I have SO many friends with autistic children and even have had the pleasure of having three in my den. The two that were in my den the longest: one was high functioning... was was low functioning but each boy was able to maintain. However, I took it upon myself to make sure that the parents and I sat down to discuss what was a good match for him so that I was prepared. That is the ONLY way to make that a success FOR THE CHILD. But the autism factor wasn't even coming into play here -- while one of the boys was a bit of a disruptive distraction (it was all just concentration-related things) the other was a COMPLETE discipline problem... COMPLETE!

So, while he's in this classroom, he kept coming home day after day with story upon story of these two boys... things they'd do... things they'd say. It got to the point that I just wanted to see for myself who they were and what the heck was going on. So, I made some unannounced visits for lunch. One of the boys -- I seriously worried for him. He just wasn't ... "normal" (for lack of a better term)... he wasn't all there.... he would talk to himself... had a glazed off look in his eye. It was really bizarre. Now, this could have been completely normal behavior for him -- I didn't know because I was only exposed to him for small durations of time.

Joshua came home with one story of one of the boys sitting at the lunch table within ear shot of a little girl. The boy was telling Josh and the other boys at one end how he was going to take her (the little girl within earshot of the conversation) "home to his bedroom, lock her inside with him, spread whipped cream all over his nuts and have her lick it off." Tell me... TELL ME ANYWHERE that a THIRD GRADER would EVER need to hear this or should have ever been EXPOSED to this type of sexually explicit material???? I was livid. LIVID. I felt like my son had been violated. In my mind, that child had obviously been exposed to pornography, sex acts or possibly molested. I was FURIOUS. Apparently, Joshua was so disturbed by this he tried to tell the teacher after lunch who just sent him to his chair without listening to him. (grrrrrr....) SO, when I picked him up from school he was FULL of it... he had to get it out and so we talked and talked and I just let him purge (he needed to in order to process this information). He needed to know that his feeling that it wasn't right... WAS RIGHT. I immediately contacted the school who has their answering machine on. I set to work on e-mails and cc'd the principal, vice principal, counselor and Joshua's teacher. The only reply I got back was from the VP that said, "The incident has been handled in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct." I'm sorry, but THAT IS UTTER BULL $H#*! My son's innocence has been stripped away and THAT is the line of CRAP you're going to feed me? Yeah... another BIG HUGE UGLY RED STRIKE....what are we up to ... five now... in two month's time?

One of these autistic boys was also somewhat of a bully... in a two week period in late October, Joshua had told me of him trying to shove another boy's hand down his pants... exposing himself on the playground.... bullying other kids and then the ultimate straw that broke the camels back was when I was speaking with a good friend of mine whose dear friend's daughter was in Josh's class. This teacher had a "worry box" for children to anonymously share their "worries" for discussion within the class. A seemingly wonderful idea on how to handle lots of issues without anyone being named and the topics being blanketed across the classroom as a discussion point rather than a blame game. This boy apparently saw the little girl leaving the playground to turn in her worry... he followed her and then threatened to kill her if she turned him in for picking on her. He threatened to KILL ANOTHER STUDENT AND HE WAS STILL ENROLLED AT SCHOOL THERE? At what point were they going to consider this boy a discipline problem? I'm sorry, but I was DONE at that point. I didn't feel that my son was safe any longer at that school, in that class or around that child. That boy was beyond seriously disturbed. I pulled Joshua out the next day which was the week before Thanksgiving of his 3rd grade year. So, for his third grade year in public school, we made it through September, October and most of November and then I realized all I had put up with an endured over that short time span and I was DONE. And if you know me, when I'm done. I'm DONE!

I jumped in with both feet not really knowing what to expect of Josh or what Josh would expect of homeschooling. I purchased used instructor materials from Half Priced Books so that I could just figure out WHERE he was so that I would know from what point to move forward from. I bought the consumables new from the manufacturer. It was exciting. It was terrifying.

My son's educational future was in my hands.

I did tons of research on the internet. I bought too much stuff. I sold some stuff.

Ultimately, after we "unschooled" (which was VERY necessary so that he could realize that just because they did something a certain way at school didn't mean that was "right" or the only way to do it. That was something - a mindset - that I had to break) we found our groove.

Most important to me was that I wanted him to realize that learning ... just for the sake of learning was actually fun. He'd been beaten down so badly with the math thing at the public school that he honestly believed himself to be "stupid" (his quote, not mine). How DARE they do that to my son?

So flash forward now... we're into our 2nd year of homeschooling and it's like night and day and funny thing... he is EXCELLING at math! Praise the Lord!

I've asked him for the past few weeks what he wanted to do next year as far as school so ta ht I could get him registered for next year since I'll be registering Drew soon. The public school wasn't an option, but he could go to the private school where he went before and where Drew is going to go (to D-1) or he can be home schooled. He has been wishy-washy about it all.

In not so many words tonight, he told me that he felt like a bit of a burden to me so he was considering going to the private school because he felt like he was keeping me from doing the things that I wanted to do. How sweet is that? I was quick to point out that there was NOTHING more important than spending time with my sons. NOTHING! And seeing that he was getting an above-average education and was being able to learn, memorize and apply what we were learning to his real "everyday" life was much more rewarding for me than anything else I could imagine. When he realized that was the way I really felt, he let me know that he really wanted to be home schooled again.

So, while I was looking forward to the thought that I might have gotten a little bit of a break this next year with them both in school-- especially with having a new little one -- I don't think that's in the cards for me just yet.

I've also had a friend approach me and ask if I would teach her son at home with Josh (can you say the ultimate flattery?) and while I know it'd be a lot of work... I certainly think it would be best for the both of them. I'm up for the challenge but regardless of what they do... knowing that I'm doing the best thing for MY son is what's ultimately the most important thing to me. Plus, with him being home one more year, we can take a few extended weekend trips to places we love to frequent like Oklahoma and/or Arkansas without the worry of "missing school" since we can take things with us. WOO HOO!

Ultimately, I can say it was this or that but perhaps these "strikes" were God's way of letting me know that I needed to be a parent and step up and protect my son. These were his subtle hints of telling me that I needed to make sure that His Word needed to be the baseline for our studies. I can't say I didn't pray about it and ask for the direction that we needed to go. I can't say that some days it's not frustrating having a little me time. I can't say that it would be nice some days to drop them both off and just come home and clean my house but when I get to witness, first hand, his face when he "gets it" and it clicks because I was able to cater to the way he needed to learn... who WOULDN'T want to know in your heart that God called you to do this becuase it was what was best for HIS child... who I just happened to be caring for.

So, there ya have it, our story in a nutshell. I'd be interested in why you chose to home school for those of you that do?

Muh ha ha ha ha ha

Do you like my evil mom laugh? ha ha.... seriously, I'm hysterically laughing! This morning Drew dropped the Direct TV remote control, unfortunately, for the last time and it burst/shattered/split into a million little pieces. And let me tell you, it was already TAPED TOGETHER with black electrical tape from all the previous floor meetings it'd had over the past couple of years.

Josh just made his lunch and was wanting to watch something (typically MythBusters) while he ate and I took a breather (read that as checking e-mail and feeding my blog addiction.) He realized that he wasn't able to change the channel. I started a slight giggle. I said, "Oh, you can still turn the TV on on the side but you'll be stuck watching whatever channel was on last." I knew it was Playhouse Disney -- not exactly the channel choice for an almost 11 year old. It's hard not to have a huge grin on my face when he reached to turn it on only to see "The Happy Monster Band." Here check it out for yourselves. Bwa ha ha ha ha! The drama that ensued afterwards was SO ... so... Oscar worthy! I seriously was laughing out loud!!!!

He soon realized that he could change the input and we're now watching Liar, Liar (with Jim Carrey). It's such a hilarious movie. Anyways, that's the funny for the day.

Josh was commenting now that he'd have to get up to push the button so he'd know what it was like to have had television in "the old days." (I guess that means that >>>>>I<<<<< lived in the old days, huh?) I did send out an SOS to the only household technologically savvy person I know (Andy) and he said that I should fix the remote (he obviously didn't see how many pieces it broke into) but now, the thought of my kids not having something to sit and drain their brain because the remote is broken ... shucks... is it a sin that I love that it's broken?!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Some things in life are just a whippin' lately.

When your two kids think it's fun to wrestle and you KNOW one of them is going to get hurt. You say, "No wrestling" which lasts all of 2.5 seconds only to hear someone moments later screaming, "OUCH!" but you have to bite your tongue on the "I told you so's" ... that's a whippin!

When you realize that we're supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow... and you're supposed to have a handyman showing up to weatherstrip 2 doors which means that your doors will need to be open for quite a while... so now you'll have to reschedule so that your heating bill isn't through the roof... that's a whippin'!

When you realize that there's a patch of earth where the grass just won't grow ... and your dogs are running through it EVERY TIME you let them out to go "wee" which means that they need to be hosed off with warm water EVERY TIME you let them IN... yeah, THAT is a WHIPPIN' indeed!

When you get boxed in on a 4 lane road and you just want to get past the 99 year old man wearing the plaid fedora so you can at least make the next light while going no more than 5 over the speed limit because travelling 15 BELOW the speed limit by being stuck behind slow poke and his girlfriend to the right... that's a whippin'!

When your son asks you -- seriously -- at the dinner table, "What's for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow" WHILE you're still eating tonight's dinner... that's a whippin'!

While you've got a to do list a mile long and about an inch of time to accomplish it... that's a whippin'!

When your son wants to play football and you realize it's a time commitment... only to realize it's THREE days a week for two hours at a time... WOW... WHAT A WHIPPIN' (for him AND me). I feel GUILTY for not wanting to stay but... that's SIX HOURS of my life just spent on my butt ??? I see no point but I hate having the guilt of not wanting to even stay. Isn't that horrible? Should I play that song, "Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?"

Then you have another son (5 years old) that is starting up HIS t-ball practices this week and you CAN'T drop and run on him - parents need to be present... how to make it work? Schedules are going to be a whippin'!

When you don't get a good night's sleep, wake up with a headache and dry eyes... and the day doesn't seem to get much better and NOTHING gets accomplished. That's a whippin'

When you didn't get anything remotely fun in the mail today...

When you thought you were going to get a new vehicle (a Ford Expedition) only to find out that SOMEONE thinks they guzzle too much gas so you decide to keep yours (knowing that you'll have a 10 year old (possibly in cleats, mud, whatever) crawling over into the back seats every day so that he has a place to sit because you'll have two tethered car seats in the seats leaving him no room...)... but then are told, "No, we need a new family car. What about a minivan?" When you'd sworn off minivans assuming anyone who drives one has been de-sex'ed (no offense -- just a stigma I had planted in my brain). So I wrap my brain around the THOUGHT of ME driving one of THOSE! (Gasp!) I start digging online to find the features I want... find them. I go look at a Chrysler Town & Country and a Toyota Sienna. The Chrysler T&C is ultimately the one I really like for a plethora of reasons. He decides he likes the Honda better. Has he even gone to see them? No. Has he driven one? No. "They hold their resale value better." But, if you are the type--like moi--that holds onto their cards for like -- EVER -- who CARES what the resale value is because you will NEVER get anything out of them after 7-9 years! So then a couple of days ago, at a red light I make the STUPID suggestion (out loud, mind you), "Why don't I just go get the 2nd row bench taken out of my car and have them install two captain's chairs instead?" Of course, he LOVES this idea. (I call him my "Jewish husband" -- again, no offense to anyone Jewish... I think more people should be tightwads like he is but sometimes --like this -- it's just too much.) So, today I ask, whom shall I call about this conversion? "I don't know, ask my dad." I do. He gave me a few leads, the three I looked up and called are all out of business. So, I called the dealership where I have had it serviced. They won't suggest any customization businesses because it would decrease the infrastructural safety and integrity of the car to modify it that way and they can't even suggest it. Big red flag. I get in touch with a good friend of mine and he suggests another company. I call them and they say, "Can't do it. No way." I let the hub-meister know this and he said, "Call the dealership." I just let him know that it'd already been done... and delivered their message. So that leg work for just that result... yeah, that was a whippin'! And for now, I just want to get two new front tires on my car (which it needs badly) and to just deal with the nightmare of another vehicle in a few months... I'm just whipped at the idea of anything to do with a new car now. WHIPPED!

When you had your house clean on Valentine's day... but since prepping for the little munchkin's arrival calls for bringing in every spare Rubbermaid tub in the attic full of little people stuff which has, in turn, left hills, mountains, mounds and piles of baby STUFF everywhere...and you're a clutter-be-gone kinda girl... THAT is a nail biting, mood altering, whippin'!


When you realize... that you're healthy... your kids are healthy.... you're surrounded by so many things to be thankful for... you have a pantry full of food to fill your belly, your children are smart, educated, witty and adorable... your dogs are just too sweet for their own good (even if you find out one has a spring in her butt and clean jump straight up onto the kitchen island where you thought was the ONLY place that was safe to put food you didn't want her to get in)... you are getting things accomplished slowly... it's hard to NOT just kinda take it all in stride and say this is a day when I just had to roll with the punches. Live ain't always beautiful (Gary Alan song) but it's still a gift and today, I didn't treat it like one. I surely hope that tomorrow I can just put on my big girl panties and deal with it! Whatever comes my way! Tomorrow will be a good day. We will get much accomplished... tomorrow will be better than today because this too shall pass. Thank you Lord for the promise of a better tomorrow!

Menu Plan Monday

OH yes, ladies and gents, it's that time of the week again. Time to make sure that we have a plan for the week becuase you know the saying... if you fail to plan... then you plan to fail. For the next couple of weeks, I'm trying to use up the pantry and the freezer goods so that I can do my OAMC sessions (two of them -- YIKES) during spring break! :)

B: Leftover Waffles
D: Manwiches, shells and cheese

B: Sausage, biscuits and gravy
L: leftovers
D: Chili, fritoes, cheese

B: cereal, juice
L: Chipotle (because that's what pregnant women want on Wednesday)
D: Salisbury steak over noodles, green beans and rolls

B: muffins, fruit, milk
L: Subway
D: Brushetta chicken skillet

B: pancakes, bacon, juice
L: Leftovers
D: Leftovers

B: toaster egg sandwiches (bacon or ham, egg, cheese)
L: light lunch b/c of early dinner
D: Blue & Gold Banquet - Cub Scouts

I'm HOPING to be gone for the majority of the morning/afternoon to First Monday Trade Days in Canton, TX so I didn't plan on anything this day... it's WING IT SUNDAY!

I'm linked to: Menu Plan Monday at

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Couponing Envy

I'm watching several blogs loyally and admit that I have coupon envy. These are moms that go to the grocery store with coupons in hand and buy $145-170 worth of groceries for $30-$60. I'm in awe of how they do this. They post their photos and their savings. Then I start looking at a lot of the products and it's lots of processed, pre-packaged foods (you know, the kind that I'm trying to avoid while cooking healthy foods and snacks for my family). So, while I need to learn to just GET OVER my coupon envy and realize that I'm doing the best I can do for my family... while eating much more healthy foods so while we may pay more at the check out stand -- I need to learn to feel confident in the choices I'm making.

I'm getting there. This is a post I may have to come back and read. Reread. And then reread AGAIN just to get it through my thick skull whenever I see these awesome posts of coupon savings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Slowly but surely it's coming together!

In preparation for "Bean's" arrival, there has been much going on at the Driggers household!
  • The playroom: The playroom has moved to what was the formal dining. That has been taped off and will be awaiting painters to paint it the same red as my family room. My dad bought and installed a beautiful ceiling fan for me for Christmas and it's just LOVELY. Once the walls are painted, IKEA will be getting a visit from me and I built (via their online tools) an AWESOME entertainment/storage system that won't break the bank and will enable me to make sure everything has a home!

  • The formal living room: The formal living room went BYE BYE! Most of the FLR furniture was moved to Andy's work (since there was an empty office where it could be stored. :)

  • The formal dining room: This is now what WAS the formal living room. This room will be painted and then I have someone scheduled to come do a faux mural type thing above the fire place so there will be NO NEED for an ugly huge golf painting up there anymore (don't worry, I WILL take before/after photos). I LOVE my formal dining room being in here. The high ceilings offer so much more "formal-ness" to the room. The only thing besides paint this needs is a) a new centerpiece for the table and b) for the electricians to come install the light fixture that needs to be special ordered.

  • PAINT! I have a gentleman calling on Monday who is going to be repainting most of the interior to this beautiful gold color that really goes with the red in the family room and also really makes the crown molding pop! He's also going to go over all the baseboards and will be painting my bathroom cabinets black and also sanding and refinishing my kitchen island black! I can't wait for that transformation! So that will be scheduled on Monday.

  • CARPET! I finally picked out what I wanted to be put in my bedroom -- I'm going for a super thick, lush, dense ... ??? shag-ish style carpet. I LOVE IT! And I did NOT want carpet but at this point, it's better than bare concrete! Shhhh! Yes, I ripped the carpet up off the floor then couldn't decide if I wanted stained concrete with a huge rug, hardwoods or carpet again... I just went on and on and on.. it was really stupid... but since I finally decided, it was worth the wait! :)

  • RUGS! Once I get the hardwoods refinished (that'll be in a couple of months), I'll have the rugs cleaned (they're rolled up in the garage) and that will be an AWESOME thing!!

  • NICHE: My dad helped me clear out the niche completely and painted it the gold color that I'm painting everything else -- why? So we can go ahead and get the AWESOME Bily Bookcases from IKEA this weekend and get them put together! It's going to look AMAZING! I can't wait to get all the boys books uploaded on the shelves and just have it be a beautiful little library for them!

It's going to be an amazing transformation over the next few months and I'm so looking forward to it! It's been a long time coming but then again -- I brought much of that upon myself because I'm forever taking my time to make a decision.

The only problem I seem to face now is finding a place to put the CLUTTER!!! OMG there is so much CLUTTER! I ask myself -- when did I get all this CRAP!?! Purging feels GOOD!

Exposing Your Kids to YOUR Youth

I took a stroll down memory lane this afternoon with my kiddos. I introduced them not only to Cinderella, but also to Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister's video, "We're Not Gonna Take It."

cinderella Pictures, Images and Photos">

QUiet riot Pictures, Images and Photos">

Twisted Sister Pictures, Images and Photos

And This Song still brings back great memories! LOVE THEM! LOVE THEM! LOVE THEM! I don't think you'll ever get the head bangin' hair band lovin' gene from my body!

Now, don't think I'm going to start growing my boys' hair out only to tease it to be taller than they are. What started this all was that yesterday Drew heard Twisted Sister's song on the radio. Then, today when we picked him up from his reading class, Josh asked him his favorite song. Without hesitation, Drew replied, "Not Gonna Take It." I thought this was hilarious. He just has a favorite ________ du jour depending on what he'd heard the previous day. It's cute.
We got into this whole discussion of hair bands and such. I tried to describe what Dee Snyder looked like to Josh and finally said that I'd look up the video and show him. Josh was a little freaked out. I said, "But in that era, it was normal for hair bands." Which was the truth and I loved every minute of it!

And a further stroll farther down memory lane... since I was a little girl ONCE (loooooooooooong time ago)... Barbie was seemingly every little girl's coveted play thing (not really, but just play along). She was so fun. I remember the white doll house my grandfather had made for me. I'd make furniture for it and my grandmother and I would sew clothing for her. All kinds of creative "stuff". I had the creativity in my head and had to make it for it to be in my hands. HOWEVER, the stuff they have for her now -- really grosses me out! YUCK! I'm just thankful I have boys.

We just saw a commercial today for this Barbie product -- here's the description from their website: Barbie® doll has new puppies! Girls can help nurture the pets by giving them water and training them to potty on the paper, which then changes color to yellow and brown. Each pup goes in a different way: the boy dog potties when you lift his leg; the girl dog squats when you press her back; and the third just needs a squeeze on the tummy.

I mean.... do you see the little dog on the bottom left of Barbie? ? Here -- take a closer look. It's got it's leg HIKED UP?! I'm sorry, but geez Louise! STOP it with the stupidity. Someone should lose their job for this. How freakin ridiculous!

and I remember seeing THIS ONE one ... who wants fake poop? I'm sorry, but freakin EWW! I think there needs to be a line between what is just a child's toyish plaything and something that is just... well, gross. I don't want my kids playing with the REAL stuff why in the WORLD would I buy them FAKE poop to take care of? I mean, it's bad enough you have to pick that stuff up for real in the back yard just to enjoy the company of my little fur babies. If they're going to start thinking any type of bodily function is a toy... what's next? Burping Barbie?

Friday Fill-Ins we go!

1. Johnny Weir doesn't ring a bell.
2. I don't, won't and haven't watched any of the 2010 Olympics.
3. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was less than that of becoming everything God had intended for you to become.
4. Dance in the rain, sing a silly song, and be goofy with your kids if you get an urge.
5. Having sweet dreams is definitely better than the crazy ones I've had lately!
6. What does it take to keep my house clean? Holy moly! LOL
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to nothing, tomorrow my plans include nothing and Sunday, I want to enjoy the Word and have a great birthday dinner with my dad (his birthday, not mine!)

I'm linked to: Friday Fill-Ins

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

It’s that time of week again! Time to list what you are thankful for. This week we are doing things that start with the letter “F.”

  • Family - without them, sometimes it seems you have no one on your side when the going gets tough.
  • Forgiveness - Is this not the hardest thing to do but the most healing of acts for your heart and soul.
  • Friends - without them, sometimes it seems like you have no escape from your crazy family (ha ha)
  • Furbabies - I love my dogs. I find any reason I can to add them to a list because they're such important "people" in my family.
  • Felecia - Because she's a good friend I know that I can always alk to and will pray for me when I need it.
  • Freedom - I love our soldiers!!!
  • Fiestaware - This is what my dish collection consists of... all different colors and I love how nothing matches and it's all the same style.
  • Flip flops - Without them, my feet would be naked in the summer
  • Fast Forward - because I hate waiting for commercials or previews!
  • Frogs - because I've always had a fascination with how cute they are AND they eat bugs! You can't a more environmentally friendly bug zapper!
  • Facebook- Because it's been real fun catching up with my FRIENDS from long ago.
  • Fridays - because that means we have the whole weekend to be a family!!

I'm linked to The Mommy-Files Thankful Thursdays

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A peek into the future...

Today is Tuesday... for the average bear, it means nothing but for me... for today... it means several things.

It means, 1) Drew has preschool, 2) I make breakfast, 3) Josh has guitar lessons, and 4) today is the day for my 3D-4D ultrasound appointment. This is where I get to a) completely confirm it's a boy and b) see the little guy in a more realistic view.

Would you like to meet him? Yeah, me too. I would introduce him by name but... apparently choosing a name is a lot tougher than you would think it is. Regardless, here is bambino numero tres or "bean" as I affectionately call him. :)

This photo is showing his face... and his little arm is up along the side and he's got the cord floating in there too. But that's him! :)

While we were there, he even opened his eyes and smiled! Technology is AMAZING! Is it not?

Apparently he's measuring a little big too (go figure) UGH! See you soon little guy!

The other thing that was pretty amazing that I was able to accomplish today -- I TOOK A NAP! Laugh all you want but generally it's a guilty pleasure I simply dream of because there is too much to be done but that ole third trimester sleepy is starting to creep up on me and frankly, I was beat! My boys were the BEST and let me have a GREAT nap on the couch with Lola!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I received an e-mail from Josh's new football coach -- in the spring. UGH! But he really wants to try out tackle so I guess we're "in" now. $200 to sign up. $200 for equipment. I'm sure there'll be another $200-$300 in other "stuff" between now and the end of the season -- DANG it's expensive!

Regardless... his new team is none other than.... the NY Giants! N.y. Giants Pictures, Images and PhotosDrew is on the NY Yankees -- how is it we are always getting these New York teams?

Thursday is his first practice. Saturday is his second. Andy -- God love him -- is going to take him to get his equipment tomorrow since I obviously have no idea what it means for pads (other than the sanitary kind that women use)... I think he'd be a little embarrassed showing up with Stayfree tacked all over his shoulders, no? Ha ha! Just kidding -- I'm not THAT dense (I hope) but there is PLENTY I don't know and I'm just glad he's here to be a great dad.


Drew told me today that, "I look kinda cool in this, do I? You think so?"

I said, "Sure you do."

He walked with his new found confidence to his brother and then repeated, "I look cool in this. Mom said I do."

Wow, if that's all it took for an ego stroke... for the REST of us... wouldn't the world be a cool place?

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday Pictures, Images and Photos

Oh yes, it's that time of the week again -- Time for Menu Plan Monday! Here's what's on our agenda this week:

B: Sausage and biscuits
D: Link sausage, beans and cornbread

B: Oatmeal and fresh fruit
D: Steak, baked potatoes, steamed veggies

B: Cereal
D: Baked chicken & rice

B: Taquitos
D: Tacos

B: Waffles from Both of my boys LOVE these! We used to have "Pancake Fridays" and now it's been replaced by waffles!
D: Manwiches with mac n cheese and a veggie tray

Saturday and Sunday
Right now our weekend is WIIIIIIIDE open but I don't know what we're doing so I'm just leaving those blank! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some of the Valentine's Day surprises...

Well, I had a change of heart about 9:30 p.m. last night as to what I wanted to make. Instead of lasagna, I'm going to make Caesar salad, bruschetta, my tetrazzini and for dessert either some chocolate chip bars a la mode or this chocolate chip cherry cobbler I found the recipe for.

I switched modes last night from lasagna to tetrazzini because a) it's easy to prepare (read that as it doesn't take 3-4 hours like my homemade lasagna does), b) is very filling and c) it's oh so delicious! The green bell peppers and green onions with the cream cheese... perfect compliment to the spaghetti noodles and meat sauce. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese does the trick!

Caesar Salad - this is super simple -- buy some mixed Romaine lettuce, some Caesar dressing, awesome croutons, grate some fresh pepper and add in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Voila! Instant deliciousness!

  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, diced (or several Roma tomatoes which I use because they have less seeds and more "meat", diced)
  • 1 loaf of Italian bread or a FRESH French baguette
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 pinch oregano
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 sm. onion, finely diced

Bake bread according to package directions. While bread is baking, saute onion and garlic in dash of olive oil. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl and add in all spices and tomatoes. Stir well. Once bread has finished baking, cut into 1/2" - 3/4" slices. Put back in the oven until top side is LIGHTLY toasted (mostly just hard feeling but not to the point it's changing colors). Remove bread from oven and plate it up -- I usually give each guest 2-3 slices, depending on how thick I sliced the bread and how many guests I have. Spoon tomato mixture over the top of each bread slice and then drizzle fresh olive oil over each one. MMMMmmm makes me hungry just thinking of it! It's really a pretty presentation to garnish each one with a fresh basil leaf but that's not necessary if you don't want to.

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • butter or olive oil
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 can of seasoned diced tomatoes (I like Del Monte's basil, oregano and garlic ones)
  • 1 block of cream cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 8 oz. spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Saute the onion in butter/olive oil. Add hamburger meat and cook until browned. Drain. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper along with the can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream. Stir in the green pepper and green onions (tops too) along with the cooked spaghetti. Make sure it's all blended well. Pour into a buttered 9x13x2 casserole dish and top with meat mixture. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over top and bake 30 minutes at 325.

As for the desserts, I was thinking of THIS Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler from Betty Crocker. Doesn't this look delicious? Click the link above for the recipe. I don't see how you can go wrong with that combination. YUM-O!

The other option was some chocolate chip cookie bars that will be cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter and then served a la mode and topped with some Hershey's syrup.

AND... as I promised to share what Josh was making for the grandmothers. . . he made these ADORABLE little duct tape roses from a link he found on the internet. You can find the tutorial video HERE. We bought the little red, heart shaped vases at Michael's for $2-3 each and the ribbon was on sale for 50% off so it was like $0.50. He is so proud of these!

And, as if that wasn't enough... they'll also get the photo frames that the boys created for them. Here are the boys working on their frames.

I think they did a great job of finishing these. Three frames per kid -- one for each grandparent. And the pictures I posted yesterday? Those are what are going inside. I hate that I had to crop the heart shaped ones but if the grand-folk want, I can always give them the link to get the ACTUAL uncropped photos to put in their albums. But then they wouldn't have these little mementos to display each Valentine's Day. :) And... personally, THESE are MY favorite kind of gift -- handmade, or better yet, HEART-made. The thought that Joshua puts into each of his gifts is just... it just warms my heart. He knows that my mom's favorite flower is a daisy so he painted daisies all over her frame. He knows his Pawpaw (my dad) is a simple guy so his just has plain hearts on it and he knows that his Mimi and Pop will just appreciate his artistic skills and so he decorated theirs with hearts and tulips. I think they will all be very pleased with their goodies.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Since I know the grand-folk aren't blog creepers

And they're coming over for V-day tomorrow for our special dinner, I'm going to go ahead and post the adorable photos I took of the boys to go in their photo frames they painted for the grandparents. Each of them will get 2 frames, one from each kiddo and each holding a different photo. I'll take the photos of the picture frames all finished once we get the photos in -- I can't pick them up from Walgreens until 6:45 so for now, the photos will have to do! :)

I have a simple black linen drape that I hung over chairs in order to get the boys in front of a "black backdrop." I also have an off-white linen colored one that showed the wrinkles VERY BADLY but I just loved the photos and I don't care about the wrinkles at this point!
There are certain things that I'd love to have and learn to use better. One would be a flash diffuser...another would be to make one of THESE fantastic do it yourself PVC backdrops. Now, the guy making this is using it for a green screen but I don't need one of those, I just need something to hold my backdrop so that I can have my boys in front of it and it look beautiful!
You know the best part of taking these photos... we all started out in a bad mood and by the end, we were all laughing and smiling and in a great mood.
Small favors -- I thank the Lord for them every day!

Something useful worth reading...

Do you have those days when you want to unplug from your "real" life and just enjoy the day soaking up tips, tricks, informational tid bits to indulge your spirit of industriousness. You want to FEEL like you're accomplishing something while, in actuality, you're doing nothing (but reading)... I LOVED this post and all the helpful links on it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Organization of Piles of Paper

I read the tips. I get the blogs. I know many of the tips for controlling the paper monster that most of us seem to live beneath. I have attempted to conquer it last night. It feels GOOD!

Most of Friday was spent not only collecting the various piles of STUFF that had made their way onto different counters, into different drawers and around different spaces. I had catalogs, recipes, articles I'd ripped from magazines, filing, etc. I had bills to pay, drawings from my children, cards from relatives. I had menus from take-out restaurants and instruction manuals to know how to operate my new kitchen appliances. Yes, there was paper clutter EVERYWHERE.

Now, in their small piles here and there, they seemed somewhat manageable but when I put them all together, I realized how completely out of control it was!

My typical system is that I use Microsoft Outlook which syncs with my Blackberry for the purposes of keeping my calendar, to do list, memo/note pads, birthdays, etc.

At my computer desk I have a supply of spiral binders. I love these. I'm addicted to these and spiral journals with beautiful covers. I tend to just grab one when heading out to a meeting so that I can keep it with my stuff until I need to use the notes, trash them or transfer them to something electronic. I also have three trays at my computer desk on the upper shelf above the monitor which house: 1) Homeschooling stuff; 2) Scout stuff; and 3) My "in" box that is supposed to only house items that require IMMEDIATE action...but it'd just been turned into a catch all. Go figure.

At the desk level, I had a pile a good 18" tall of just random STUFF. I had a pile of stuff by the butler's pantry. I had a pile of stuff on the island. I had a pile of stuff in my bedroom. I had a pile of stuff here... I had a pile of stuff here... here a pile, there a pile... everywhere a pile pile. Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O. Yeah, that's what I feel my house was turning into .... a paper wasteland. I finally had ENOUGH!

I have two sources for controlling the paper clutter. 1) a closed hanging file system that I am going to utilize for my Once A Month cooking and recipe files. 2) a square cube that holds hanging files that I got for $2 at Big Lots that will hold EVERYTHING ELSE!

For my OAMC and recipes: THIS is the most reasonable place for me to keep it because I can then keep all five of my new books within it (for now, at least). I had recipes I'd torn out of magazines, ones I'd printed from the internet. It was a hot mess. Now, they're all beautifully organized into their own file folders. I have a folder for Appetizers, Breads, Soups/Stews, Pasta, Cakes, Cookies, Desserts... etc.

Another resource I have for my recipes is my "go to" recipe collection of tried and true recipes that I have on 4x6 cards in a recipe box. My next plan is to actually GO THROUGH this box and weed out the ones that I have yet to try. Those will either be added to the files I created last night OR to my software I've been utilizing for a while.

This program is called MasterCook 7. It's software that comes with TONS of recies preinstalled. You can create your own cookbooks (talk about weeding out paper clutter!) I honestly think it'd be in my best interest to go through and delete the ones that are preinstalled that I know that I won't use so that the software uses less space on my computer and isn't full of stuff just because it's installed on it. Apparently, I have a fear of needing information I had and then not having it. It's ridiculous. I know. I'm working on it. Ultimately, I'd love for all of my recipes to be on there. What I'd ultimately like is to have all my TNT (Tried-N-True) recipes in one cookbook created in MasterCook. The next step would be to go through my files and add the recipes one at a time and then scan in the photos of the finished product (and the steps, if necessary) and get rid of the paper clutter FOREVER! These would just go into themed cookbooks under titles of the folders they're in -- Appetizers, Beverages, Poultry, etc. AND, since I'm on several mailing lists from wonderful resources like Betty Crocker, etc. I could then copy THOSE recipes that I want to try into my MasterCook files and have everything in ONE resource instead of spread all over the internet in different recipe boxes on different sites. It will definitely be a work in progress for quite a while but I look forward to doing this!

Any-who.... for everything else: This has sections for articles on Parenting, Recycling, Tips, Exercise, Geneology, etc.

I will still utilize my 3 files above my computer desk but I will make sure that it doesn't remain a "catch-all" but will be just for items that require action within 14 days.

Another thing I realized I needed to create was a definite spot for my magazines and catalogs. I chose a round end-table in my family room since that was actually where I sat to read them anyway. I went through MANY of them last night looking for articles I wanted to read, decorating ideas I wanted to file, craft ideas I wanted to try and filed all those articles accordingly into the pink hanging file.

I have an ENTIRE garbage bag full of paper WASTE to go through and put into our recycle bin but honestly, I may just trash it at this time to save me from having yet ANOTHER THING to put on my "to do" list and just that way I can GET IT DONE!

I still haven't decided if I wanted to keep a paper calendar to organize and meal plan or if I want to keep my electronic means of doing so... but in the interim, this will DEFINITELY be a controllable resource for me to be able to find things quickly and it will let everythign have a place!

Photos to come soon... though trust me... they're nothing special! :)

Friday Fill-Ins we go!

1. Pickles and ice cream are not something that is on the "crave" list. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream maybe, but definitely not with pickles. YUCK!
2. I am so very thankful and absolutely love being able to stay at home.
3. The snow is AMAZING. We had over 12 inches of snow fall in 24 hours which is a record for the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas since they began keeping weather records. It's amazing, beautiful, pristine, pure and it makes me realize HOW MUCH I really DO miss the snow and living where they get it more often.
4. I think children today spend too much time playing video games adn computer games and therefore do not spend enough time outside learning and exploring in nature.
5. It's 5:16 PM; that means homework is done, I'm starting dinner, Drew's playing Legos or something using his imagination, Josh is playing outside with Shane or Bailey and life is good.
6. A comfortable sleeping position, sitting position or walking position when you're very pregnant is hard to find.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to continuing to enjoy this snowy weather, tomorrow my plans include the boys going to a swimming party for a neighbor's daughter and grocery shopping for Valentine's day and Sunday, I want to go back to Gateway and enjoy having the family over for a special Valentine's supper.

I'm linked in at Friday Fill-Ins. You should check them out!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

It’s that time of week again! Time to list what you are thankful for. This week we are doing things that start with the letter “E.”
  • Everyday -- it's such a gift and I tend to take them for granted and not try to make the best of them.
  • Envoy XL -- It's my car and it's paid for and I love it so much!
  • Ed -- my father in law...he's the patriarch of the family and is just such a Godsend to have in my life
  • Elvis -- "Thank you, thankyouverymuch." Need I say more?
  • Electric blankets -- I am in LOVE with my electric blanket! I love having my room FREEZING cold at night but having a warm, snuggly blanket to make everything wonderful and cozy in the bed.
  • Elmo -- because it was SO MUCH FUN watching my son be enamored of him when he was younger! Who doesn't love a friendly, furry, red monster that sings and has a gold fish?
  • ET -- I had so much fun when I was a kid watching this movie and making the ceramic figurines that had his finger, chest and eyes glowing in the dark. It was so cool.
  • Enchiladas -- I don't make them nearly enough but they're one of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes! Sour cream chicken enchiladas smothered in a mushroom/sour cream sauce or the cheese and onion enchiladas covered in a beef/chili sauce.
  • E-mail -- um... HELLO? I'm THE e-mail queen! :)
  • Elephants -- they're huge, they're cute, they're grey, they're ferociously protective of their young.
  • Environmentalists -- not the extremists but the ones that give a hoot and don't pollute! I'm a tree hugger and definitely not afraid to admit it! :) I love Mother Earth and hope that we keep it clean so that my children's children can enjoy it for years to come!

So, what's your Thankful Thursday for "E" going to include?

I'm linked to:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Daily digs

Well, all but one of my books have come in and I've been looking for spare moments to devour them but I haven't been able to completely sit and linger over the pages of time-saving information... yet. I will say that the recipes I've spied within the two that I've peeked at are simply mouth-watering and I'm foresee a Post-It Note shortage in my stash of office supplies.

I feel like I definitely should have taken into account that whole "Eat From The Pantry" challenge so that I could clear out my freezer and pantry in anticipation of filling it full of tasty goodness.

So, my plan at this point is for the next two weeks I'm going to take inventory of my pantry and freezer and basically challenge myself to do that on my own just so that I can clear it out. While I'm doing that I will plan menus and meals for the upcoming time that I plan to do my batch cooking. I'm going to prepare two weeks worth on one day... skip a week and then prepare another two weeks worth. I then intend to skip another two weeks and do yet ANOTHER two weeks worth so that I have a total of six weeks worth of prepared meals in the freezer just waiting until our little one arrives and that will make live SO MUCH EASIER ON ME!

So, while I'm making my lists of menu items I want to prepare, I will be watching the sales ads for the local grocery stores which will enable me to stock up on the "loss leaders" at the grocery stores.

And when you're short on time but want something big on flavor -- I have a simple go to meal -- chicken quesadillas! You need NOTHING to make these and they're so filling.
The recipe is SO simple, all you need is:
  • a can of chunk white meat chicken in water
  • a can of black beans, drained
  • a can of diced/chopped green chilies
  • a can of Mexicorn, drained
  • flour tortillas (you choose the size, I buy the huge ones)
  • grated Mexican blend cheese (cheddar/jack is one of our favorite combos)
  • dipping sauces -- guacamole, salsa and/or sour cream

One of my little treats I bought for myself was a GIGANTIC electric griddle. I can make lots of pancakes with it at one time. However, last night I was making quesadillas with them. Heat it to about 350 degrees and put on one tortilla, top that with cheese, and then sprinkle the ingredients you want atop that... top with more cheese and then with the other tortilla. Flip once (I have a gigantic silicone spatula for pancakes that works fantastically with these). And I use my handy dandy pizza cutter to just slice them into wedges. DELICIOUS and SO quick and filling! (That is, unless you have a 5 year old that hates cheese and refuses to eat them... at which time my new rotisserie/convection/toaster oven comes in very handy to warm up chicken nuggets in a jiffy!) Ha!

Tonight we're under a "winter weather advisory" -- which means that they think we'll get something and we probably won't. I love the snow but almost hope it doesn't ruin tomorrow -- it's Drew's Valentine's party at school! I'd hate for him to miss it.

Saturday I'm going shopping for my big Valentine's dinner at the house. I'll post more about that later. I've got to get some snapshots of the boys to put in the picture frames. That will be fun. And you'll love to see what Josh made for the grandmothers! Duct tape isn't just for fixing leaks anymore! It's for Valentine's gifts now too! Ha ha! You'll see!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A delay.... and a question I've posed before

I was all gung ho to make a great entry this evening, but alas, I'm being kicked in the ribs so I'm going to go recline and read not one...but TWO OF MY BOOKS THAT CAME IN TODAY! Dream Dinners and Don't Panic -- Dinner's in the Freezer! I'm sure they'll be read cover to cover by the morning! (ha)

However, I will have a plan in place for tomorrow and I do look forward to sharing that with you guys tomorrow! And for those that have YET to embark upon the wonders of OAMC (once a month cooking) you simply don't know the freedom and time you're missing. The present is a GIFT and utilizing a OAMC approach, you give yourself SO MUCH MORE! It's priceless -- truly priceless!

And, now for my question. I'm now in the world of the Blackberry which I love because I can sync it up with my Microsoft Outlook. My calendar is thus, always up to date and at my fingertips. I think I'm just having a hard time totally embracing the age of technology and I miss writing down my stuff. Isn't that WEIRD? Does anyone else still utilize an actual day planner that is paper? Many of the blogs I surf, follow, subscribe to, etc. are doing reviews of all these different mom planners and they just look great. I just don't want to buy yet another one only to have nothing to do with it because it's ONE MORE THING for me to do?!

The one thing I do currently, for written calendaring, is print out our weekly schedule on the computer and highlight who does what (certain colors for each person) and so then we can see at a moment's notice what is going on for a particular day. But for my menu plan, I have that on a separate sheet hanging on the fridge. My "to do list" is just a list of stuff in my blackberry that are on my "task list" in Outlook. My projects that require more than electronic notes are in a purple binder near my computer... what does everyone else do to stay organized and on top of your life? I'd love to hear how everyone else keeps track of their to do's, their grocery lists, their meal plans, their schedules....

Wow, waiting really sucks!

Well, I've tried. I've tried and I've tried to be patient and put off going to the grocery store in hopes to have my books in hand this weekend in order to start my meal planning but OH NO... nothing is here yet! WAAAH!! I'm wondering if my postal worker is a secret blog follower and knows what goodies I have coming and has been spying on my mail!!! ha ha!

Today was a dreary day. Cold and rainy. Not a lot of fun. Both of the boys woke up late. I had a headache. Drew's speech therapy evaluation was canceled due to the insurance company not confirming that the therapist is covered under their policy. I could complain BUT it just meant that we all stayed in, stayed dry and stayed warm. I let the boys play instead of going right to school after lunch. Since Josh didn't get up early, we didn't start school today until about 3:00 p.m. It's not a super busy day anyway and since it's so ugly, he won't be playing outside so no harm / no foul.

Drew wanted to do some "work" too so he was spelling short sentences on notebook paper. I really need to start Handwriting Without Tears with him so that he learns proper letter formation before it's too late. I wonder how homeschooling him would be? He's a little more active than Josh. The only "fear" I have is that they teach the D'Nealian alphabet at Fort Worth Christian (which I despise!). SO... I may send him next year and then pull him and homeschool him until they're out of the "handwriting phase" and then put him back in!

I did let Josh know today that it was his choice for what he wanted to do with school next year. He can homeschool and stay in Creative Arts in Action (acting / sculpture) or he can attend FWC with Drew.

Speaking of the boys... here's their photo of the day. :) Don't let the innocent smiles fool you... they are best friends and mortal enemies at times. LOL. Today has just been one of those days where I thought... you know... I'm about to get all their hair cut off... I need a "now" photo. :)

The other thing I was planning to do today was post my Menu Plan Monday but since we don't have my MENU PLANNED (how that became a "we" statement, I haven't a clue).... I am not posting it.

I do know tonight is spaghetti... tomorrow is probably going to be chicken quesadilias... Wednesday and on is undecided. :)

More later...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gateway -- how refreshing!

I set aside all of my premeditated ideas of what the whole experience was goign to be and made a promise to myself to make the most out of this visit to Gateway. We arrived and there was parking (being a Guest has its benefit!) My friend Brad and his wife Melissa were there. He pre-registered my kids for me as guests so that we had an easy entrance. We got Drew checked in.... we went upstairs and the area for kids where Josh was... was... AMAZING! They had a live worship for them as well. I know he enjoyed that. I wish he had a friend there but I know that he will make some! :) We did a small tour, took our seats and the service began.

The worship was ... AMAZING! I LOVED IT! It was so didn't feel overdone. It was brilliantly done. I loved it. LOVED IT!

Then they had the pastor up on the screen (it was filmed earlier in the day)... and honestly, it wasn't weird at all. It was warm and meaningful and I really liked it. He did a brief interview with Vernon Wells.... some baseball player... about his testimony. It was really nice. He gave a message to take away ... and then it was over. It felt like it lasted about 10 minutes. I could have sat there and listened to that man for hours! HOW REFRESHING!

Both of the boys had a great time...

AND.... on my way out, a woman was like "OH MY GOSH you look great" and told me you cant even tell I'm pregnant from the back... it's all just in the belly. How cute!

I know it's really early to say this but... I think we may have found a new church home! For that, I thank God for giving me a chance to open my eyes and my heart to the possibility that he wants us to find a place to plug into. :) Thank you Jesus for giving me the friendship of the Conlons and for them to have the heart to make us feel welcome...