Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

On This Friday Morning.

Two little ones woke up with low fevers derailing my lunch plans with this chick, who I have literally not seen at all since high school. Probably the only time EVER I find a babysitter so readily available, and I have to cancel because of sick children. It is just not right, ya know?!

My mother in law went to a Wal-Mart in Tennessee and asked the workers if they carry Coco Motion. They say, "OH! You just missed it! We sold every last one we had YESTERDAY FOR $5.00!" What the heck?! In the end, someone found me one. I think. So says Travis. But, I bet not for $5.00.
Every Monday, for like 3 months, I have worked. Every Wednesday, for like 3 months, I have not worked. Jackson's birthday is on Wednesday and I just happened to get scheduled. COME ON!

I'm waiting for someone or something to say, "Gotcha".

Seriously....say it already.

In other news, Dillon and his parents are heading to Peru tomorrow. They will arrive early Sunday Morning, and the surgery is scheduled for Monday. He'll have a couple of days to recuperate and will head back to Florida on Thursday. I want to thank everyone who read and forwarded his story, gave donations, and prayed. Dillon could use some extra prayers now as they face the travel and surgery. Again, from our family, thank you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just My Luck.

It was on its last leg anyway. But, I have to say, when the cord was burned by an open flame on our gas stove, I was a bit....devastated. I became even more devastated when I checked on-line and discovered that my local Wal-Mart doesn't carry this item, it's out-of-stock on-line, and there isn't one within a 100-mile radius that has it right now. I became desperate when I discovered there isn't many other places to buy this product, on-line or otherwise.

It will be a sad, cold winter if we don't get this machine.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update on the Sickies.

After a brief--too brief for how much he charges--doctor's visit.....

It's a double ear infection.
We're thankful it's not something worse. I usually don't do meds for ear infections, but this one has got to go.
Here's to making our children better!

We've Got the Sickies.

We've got a sick one in our household. Triston developed a fever at just about the same time we arrived home from the apple orchard/pumpkin patch. It went into Sunday, then Monday, and now Tuesday. Fairly ambiguous symptoms--fever, cough, sore throat and chest. I finally caved and made a doctor's appointment for today. Several have brought up swine flu--but I really think it would be more dramatic, if it were that, right?

Who else has the sickies going around their home right now?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How Firm a Foundation.

I'm preparing a lesson for Sunday, using this article. It struck a chord and thought I'd share. Don't be afraid to read it, if you aren't from my faith. Jesus Christ's Gospel is universal (whether you are religious or not) and I'm positive it will strike something within you, too.

The Winner.

Miss Morgan Hood, a friend that lives too far away.

She and Katy knew the correct name and what it was used for.

Send me your address, Morgan, and I'll get it sent your way!

More importantly--after 5 little boys in our family, we are getting a little girl. She'll be here sometime in February.
I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Review and Giveaway.

I'm not quite sure what the appeal is....but I just love fondue. So I got a fondue pot from this store--they sent it to me in an exchange for a product review. I chose this set because I wanted a pot that was mobile, something we could take to the table.

The 17 pc. set included a stainless steel stand and pot, fork guard, 6 forks, 6 ceramic plates, and a ceramic insert functional to use with cheese or chocolate, and a fuel container (the fuel is sold separately). It all nests together in a neat little box for safe and easy storage.

So I got the fondue set out tonight. I made a chocolate fondue with chopped bananas, apples, and animal crackers for dipping. And then I realized fondue with an open flame isn't really a good idea for kids--my kids, anyway. Everything went fine--better than expected, but I was kind of nervous the whole time which didn't make it as fun as I thought it would be.

The pot, however, is a great addition to my kitchen gadgets. It was easy to store, easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to put away. The only disadvantage to this set is that you have to buy the little burner things separately.

I recommend it. You can get yours here.

Speaking of kitchen gadgets, I got a new one. I found it at Goodwill, brand new, for two dollars. Tell me the correct name and what it is used for and I will randomly select a correct answer to win a giveaway! (I can't tell you what the prize is--it would give away the answer!)

I'll let you know who the winner is on Thursday!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Can't Believe This Happend to Me. ***Post-Edit

****Please do not read this if you think I am a decent lady OR if you are a guy and we go to church together. I'm serious.****

I have a phobia of using public restrooms. With all the statistics out there about fecal matter latching on to purses and the thought of who-knows-what diseases lurking in the corners--I just don't like it.

Thursday night we met my Dad and his wife in Columbus for dinner. "Golden Corral", they suggested and even though the very thought made me a little sour, we weren't paying, so we agreed. Looking around the restaurant, I was put at ease. It was exceptionally clean and the food looked clean, too, which is always a plus.

This is actually pretty good," I said finishing off the last bite of a pre-mixed Caesar Salad. And really, it was. We finish eating and visiting and it's time to go. As soon as we hit the parking lot, I felt a rumble in my stomach, but we still had to make it to Kohl's and Wal-Mart, so I quickly squashed any thought of sickness.

Travis suggests we skip Kohl's since we had all the boys with us. "Nonsense," I say. "You go in and take your time. I just have to take these blinds back to Wal-Mart and get the right size. The boys can go with me." Looking back--this was my death sentence right here.

So me and the boys go into Wal-Mart and because I have to go to Customer Service and I only need one thing, I make all the boys sit in the shopping cart. We go to the CS line and it hits me. Whatever-I-just-ate-body-don't-like-e diarrhea hits me, just like that. I'm in the customer service line and I start sweating. My stomach (or intestines, rather) is cramping so bad all I can do is grit my teeth and try to act like a normal person. It's my turn with the Customer Service Manager and I don't even know if I can make it to the counter. I found all the inner-strength I could muster and move forward. Jackson starts standing in the shopping cart and all I can do is glare at him and hope he sees the fury in my eyes that is screaming for him to sit down because all the energy I have is focused on two things: 1) NOT pooping my pants right there in the Customer Service line, and 2) just getting through this conversation with the CS manager.

CS Manager hands me back my money and I bolt, shopping cart and all, to the family bathroom located in the back of the store. I pulled the entire shopping cart, full with three very confused little boys, into the family bathroom and....well....go. The whole time Triston, who is the loudest five-year-old ever, is saying things like, "Mom? What are you doing? You can't take the whole cart in the bathroom. Do you have diarrhea? Mom!" I should have been humiliated, but I didn't care. I am a little humiliated now--but I'm pretty sure this has happened to everyone, right?

I would love to write that that was the end of the story, but it's not the end. Once I got the right size of blinds, we made our way to the check-out counter. It hit me again, twice as hard. I double-over and inch my way to the debit card machine to pay and Jackson starts hanging over the edge of the cart swaying it back and forth. All I can do is whisper at him to stop and a million and one punishments start going through my head. But I swear, none of them would have been good enough for what I was feeling. At that point I actually think to myself, "I can't make it to the bathroom. It's over. I'm going to have to just do it right here". The lady barely hands me the receipt and I take off again, shopping cart and all, back to that family bathroom. This time there is a team-meeting or something taking place so several employees are standing in the way of the door. In the midst of trying my hardest to move as quickly as possible without completely pooping in my pants and shooing Jackson back in the cart, I start to hyper-ventilate a little because I am afraid the team leaders are going to use me as an example of what is not okay to do in Wal-Mart. Fortunately, they didn't.

Seriously--I didn't care. Brad Pitt could have been standing outside the door and I wouldn't have cared. It was that bad. So while this whole experience probably hasn't cured my fear of public restrooms, it has made me appreciate them. A lot.

I got the kids in the car and mentally checked off 'Worst Experience of My Life".

As for Travis? He strolled out of Kohl's happy as a lark. No kids to struggle with in the store and no life-threatening diarrhea. He was just fine. (No, seriously, he tried to take the older boys with him but I insisted they go with me and then he felt really bad.)

So why am I telling you? Because it is hilarious and this is the kind of stuff that just happens and you can't do anything about it, so you just laugh, too.

Feel free to share your most embarrassing moment. It'd make me feel a lot better.

***To add to the level of embarrassment, I just realized that Travis just happened to post my blog address on his facebook with the invitation to "check it out for cute pictures of the kids and some entertaining stories" Seriously? So hello to all of Travis' friends from high school and probably some colleagues, too. I just lovvvve making a good first impression.

A Naughty Gene?

This little boy must have a naughty gene. As soon as he wakes up he starts trying to lick me or one of his brothers, he will knock over chairs, jump off the furniture, steal pickles and chocolate syrup out of the refrigerator, ect. ect. ect. I taught him how to say, "I'm naughty" and it is the cutest thing in the world. He walks around saying,

"I Not-E"...but he says it in a scary growling voice.

I'd like to know what kind of deal I made with God to get children this interesting. You know?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Potty How-To's.

Triston in spring of 2006

My potty-training tips:
Don't wait too long--I don't know if you have this problem, but my kids looovvve to disagree with me. Bryce will be two at the end of November and has done the opposite of what I say for the last 4 months. So right now, when I say, "Let's go potty!" He says, "No!". Sometimes I say, "Bryce do NOT go potty" and he does it. ....two year olds will be the death of me.

Throw out the pull-ups--In my opinion, Pull-ups only prolong potty training. Of course, there are times when they come in handy, like, when you have to go somewhere and when your child refuses to put on a diaper, but still pees while they are sleeping. During potty-training, I always have my kids in underwear when we are home. Get a good carpet cleaner--they will have accidents, but it's important for them to learn that wet underwear feels gross against their body. It only takes a few times to realize that they'd rather just stay dry. Or, sometimes I'll put a diaper on over the underwear. They will still feel the wetness, but it won't get on your carpet.

Start a routine--I start training as soon as they wake up. The first (or second or third!) thing we do is go to the potty. If they don't go right then, come back in 10 minutes and try again. You can usually tell if they've already gone in their diaper after they have woke up--it will be warm. If that's the case, give them 20 minutes before you take them. If you've given them something to drink, take them 20-25 minutes after. If they don't go, take them every 10 minutes until they do go.

Stay consistent-- This is the most important thing. I always say that potty training starts when the parent is ready, not the child. It's difficult to interrupt what you are doing every 10 minutes to take your toddler to the bathroom, but, potty-training will not be a long drawn out process if you do it this way. I will say right now that I am not very consistent with Bryce. (Right now he is wearing a diaper and watching a cartoon.) But, if you can commit to a couple of days to focus on just potty-training, they will have it down. But, it's up to you to take your kid potty--at least for the first couple of months.

Expect accidents--Remember, they are not even two, or are just two. They will have accidents. They've been going in their pants since they were born. Even after they are potty-trained, an accident may happen.

Have an arsenal of tricks--Have books, DVDs or whatever that will help your child connect what you are saying. Also, I always use M & Ms--it's classical conditioning and I don't care what experts say about rewarding with food. If they go potty, they get an M & M. It works. Also, I don't know how well this would work for girls, but it's always worked well for my boys. Sometimes, especially at first when they don't want to use the potty, I will pour a cup of warm water over their pee-pee. They always pee. I will do that then say, "okay, your turn" and then they will do it. Maybe it helps by association with the water going into the toilet? I don't know, but it helps. I always talk about how big they are when they use the potty. Praise works great. too.

My boys have always peed in the potty before they pooped in it. To get them to poop in it, I really play up changing their diapers. "I will say how yucky it feels", "how stinky it is","how big boys poop in the potty", ect. Eventually they will want to poop in the potty.

Finally, every child is different. Maybe these tips don't work in your house with your child. I hate changing poopy diapers after they start pooping like an adult. I don't like buying diapers and I don't like having dirty ones around. So, for me, I want to get it over with as soon as possible--but if you don't mind all that stuff, your kid will be just fine if you wait awhile.

Good Luck!

How'd you do it? If you've got any more tricks up your sleeve, please share!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hhheelllllloooooooo, October!

My favorite month started today!

Happy October!

P.S. My potty-training expertise coming soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Confession:

I ate four and a half of these babies today. There are 5 more sitting on my cake stand staring at me.


What Can I Say?

The time has arrived. After months of playing with the potty, Bryce is finally learning how to use it. And he is digging his Thomas underwear--which are actually Jackson's Thomas underwear. What can I say? I was unprepared and we live 20 miles from the nearest underwear store. So next week, he'll get his own Thomas underwear. And yes, I did lie when Jackson stormed into my room to confront me on if, in fact, those were his. What can I say?

I will say I deserve an award for potty-training 3 BOYS before the age of 2 (or right after in Jackson's case). Oh. Moms don't get those? Darn.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sticky Pumpkin Buns

These may be the crowning glories of my baking experiences--so far.

Super easy and soooooo good.

You should try one.

1 envelope of active dry yeast
1/4 hot-warm water
1 t. plus 2 T. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. salt

1 stick butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon

2 c. confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
3 T. milk (plus a little extra)

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in lg. bowl. Add 1 t. sugar, let stand until foamy--5 to 10 minutes. Beat in remaining sugar, eggs, butter, and pumpkin. Gradually add 5 c. of flour and salt, scraping sides of bowl until soft dough forms. Put dough into mixer or knead by hand--you'll add 1/2 c. flour into the dough and continue kneading. Knead for 10 minutes. Grease a bowl, add dough. Cover with plastic and let rise about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Make Filling and set aside. Punch dough down and roll 1/2 out onto a floured surface into a rectangle. Spread with half of filling and start to roll dough from the long side--in a jellyroll fashion. Pinch seam to close--repeat with second half of dough and filling. You'll have two logs--cut crosswise into 10-12 1 in. pieces, and place each piece into a muffin tin. Cover with plastic and let rise another 30 minutes. (You can also freeze dough at this point. Just cover with plastic and foil and stick in the freezer.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover plastic and bake buns until bubbly--about 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Make glaze and generously pour on top! Enjoy!

***If you'd like a tasty pumpkin roll, omit the filling and glaze. After the dough rises, pull apart into little balls, stick each one into a greased muffin tin (or sheet) and bake until done. These are popular around here in Brown County. Serve with butter.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Soup-er Friday: New England Chicken and Bacon Soup

I adapted this recipe from The Chicken Soup Book by Janet Hazen. I thought it was okay, but Travis and the boys LOVED it! The book is great--something I might order to just have on hand.

1 pound of bacon, cut up

1 lg. onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 t. celery seed (the recipe also called for paprika and mustard seed, but I didn't have any)

3 rounded T. all-purpose flour

10 c. chicken stock

4 med. potatoes, cut into cubes

1 c. heavy cream

2 c. sharp cheddar

2 c. chicken breast, cooked and cut up

salt and pepper, to taste

parsley, to garnish

In stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Remove all bacon grease from the pot except for 1/4 cup--leave that. Cook the onion
and garlic in the bacon grease until onion is tender, about 8 minutes--and stir frequently. You don't want it to burn on the bottom. It will start to come off the bottom in your soup once you add the broth and little black flecks will be floating around--this happened to me. Add the spices and flour and cook for about 3 minutes--stirring constantly. Add chicken stock a little at a time and whisk to form a smooth mixture. When all the stock has been added, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly once again--for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream, and reserved bacon. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add the cheese and chicken and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper and add parsley on top for looks (and to hide the black bits in case you burn it, like me.)
This soup has a lot of rules to follow...I didn't do it perfectly, but it was still good!

Sour Cream and Chive Twice Baked Potatoes

YUM. YUM. YUM. All I can say is---YUM and easy.

Place 4 baking potatoes in a microwavable dish and turn on high about 15 minutes. (I use 2 glass pie dishes; one on top of another--you know, plastic is bad! So are microwaves for that matter.... but I at least feel a little better about using glass.) Once softened all the way through, slice down the middle; long ways.

Scrape out the potato leaving about a half inch from the sides and empty into a bowl. Once all the potato is scraped out, mix about 1 c. sour cream, a couple T. butter, and fresh cut chives (I also added real bacon pieces). Mash together in bowl and then fill your empty potato skins with the mixture. Top with more chives and bake in oven about 15 minutes.


The Rant of the Day: Ridiculousness in Parenting.

The level of ridiculousness that accompanies parenthood at times is just.....




Makes me want to cry?

Or laugh?

Or cry accompanied by that crazy laugh?

I just don't know. But I do know that this morning when I was helping Jackson get dressed, because he is almost 4 and says, "he can't do it by himself", I wanted to run away. His jeans are "too hard" he says, which really means "too tight", but it took me awhile to figure it out--I thought he didn't like the feel of the fabric, but nope--we just had to adjust them. Thank Heavens for adjustable waist! Meanwhile Bryce is standing next to me with that ball popper thing that rolls and is hitting me in the head with it, all the while I am trying to button the now adjusted jeans. Jackson's shirt, which I am trying to put over his head, is not the right one so he just falls down and lies on the floor lifeless. I tossed the shirt on him and surrendered.

Bryce, who is naked waiting for a diaper and now hitting Jackson with the ball popper thing, sees me grab the diaper and just as I turn to kneel down to put it on him--he takes off. I catch him and as I'm trying to putting it on him he lifts his bottom up and down as quickly as he can saying, "No! No! No!". I force him to hold still so I can get the diaper on and of course he screams loud enough for any neighbors that live a ways down the road to hear--forget about the clothes. In this frenzy that has just occurred, my hair becomes untangled from the little bitty clip that is holding it back out of my face, and falls forward--in my face. I gather up any dignity I have left as an educated adult who doesn't have to stay home with these two crazies and huff out of their room to the comfort of my own--to find, under my pillow, a picture that Triston had left just for me.

"There's hope," I think to myself. I can remember a time when Triston was just as feisty, if not more, than the other two. Now he is a typical five-year-old who loves his family and goes out of his way to make them happy--most of the time.

"There's hope," I repeat, as I go back for round 2.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's number 9 on this list.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I made this pudding recipe from the book Family Feasts for $75 dollars a week by Mary Ostyn. It's a great book and I really like some of the recipes, but for some reason I just can't figure out how she could only spend $75 on a family of four using some of the recipes she includes. Nearly all of them have meat, fish, or shrimp in them--a big part of the grocery bill. Anyway, her book also includes wonderful little homemade recipes like this one. This pudding is awesome--way better than the box kind.

1/4 c. cornstarch

2 c. milk

1/3 c. sugar

1/8 t. salt

1/4 c. coco powder

1 t. vanilla

1 T. butter

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and coco powder in a medium size sauce pan. Whisk 1 c. milk, stirring until smooth. Whisk in remaining cup of milk until well combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and gently, until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring gently.

Remove from feat and add vanilla and butter, stirring until melted. Pour pudding into bowl or individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap, laying the plastic on top of the pudding to keep a skin from developing. Chill until cool--about 1 hour.

Proof, Right Here.

Poor Bryce. He just doesn't get it--he loves to be with his brothers at all costs, even if that means he gets taken advantage of. As his parents, we do what we can to stop the travesty that comes with his placement in a band of brothers, but some things just can't be helped.

A couple of weeks ago, the kids were playing on a tree that had fallen half-way into our yard from the woods above (I say above because of the massive hill that makes up the back half of our yard and was home to that particular tree). Anyway, it became an instant jungle gym. So the kids play on it and swing from some of the smaller flexible branches that jut out from what would have been the top of the tree. This day, the kids were playing on it and I heard Bryce start crying. I looked out the window and noticed this was a different kind of cry. Also, he was standing perfectly still and not coming to find me--which was odd, right? Travis was standing on the porch telling him to come down but still, he wouldn't budge.

Coming off a crazy story about a snake that just happened to have found it's way into the bedroom of some friends of ours around here--that was the first thing I thought of. Maybe he spied a snake and was scared....but then again, I'm sure he would have called out "Snake"--he knows what they are. And Jackson is just playing away right above him on the tree, surely if there was a snake he would have made it known--he freaks out over flies. But, where is Triston? He is not in the vicinity anymore, which tells me one thing: someone has done something that is going to warrant a whippin'.

Triston does that--runs and hides if someone, AKA Jackson, is going to get in trouble. I've asked him why he feels like he needs to hide if he hasn't done anything wrong, and he says so I don't think he did it too. He's learned the ramifications of 'guilty by association' at a young age, I guess.

As I get closer to Bryce, all I can see, at first, is his little sad face with big tears swelling. But then, I can see his hair and clothes are soaked. I look at Jackson, who if flipped upside down dangling from a branch by his legs, and ask where the water came from. Casually, he says, "I don't know".

I look to Bryce and say, "Why are you wet, Bryce"?

His response? He looks right at Jackson and says, "Pee".

I turned to Jackson, still dangling, and asked if he peed on Bryce.

He says, "Well, I had to go and he wouldn't move so I just peed on him."

I was dumbfounded and just stared back and forth between my soaked baby and the heathen that is still dangling from the branch.

Jackson senses that I'm not happy. "Mom," he adds while disengaging from the tree (I think he was positioning himself to run!). "It was his fault. I told him I was going to do it and he wouldn't move. Mom. Mom? Mom. Bryce did it. He could have moved, but he just stood there."

I left Jackson and grabbed a still-crying Bryce. After a bath for a grateful Brycer, Travis and I sat down and had a talk with Jackson. These kinds of situations leave me too exhausted to spank--I get overloaded with just the right punishments because, seriously? What do you do for that? Jackson apologized and Bryce, who never would have been mad at him anyway, accepted with a double-leg take down. The wrestling match had begun and all was forgiven. (I will never understand that, but Travis does, so we're good).

As for Triston? He said he got outta there because he thought Jackson was going to get it--smart kid. As for me, I went back and forth about even writing this down--here or in my journal--some things are better left forgotten. But, one day, with everything that Bryce endures now, he is going to be able to whoop Jackson, and I'm going to need the proof that he probably deserved it.

Here's that proof.

(and after all was said and done and the kids couldn't see us, Travis and I fell over laughing. These boys are constant entertainment.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Back.

Maybe because it's a new season. Maybe a long hiatus did me good. Maybe I'm starting to feel bad for my family. Maybe it's all of the above--but the desire to cook is back. I haven't completely neglected my family, but cooking has fell to the wayside--something I usually love to do. Travis tells me that if he has to eat unseasoned crockpot beans one more time--he might leave me. I've searched several cookbooks and lucky for me--magazines from the subscriptions people sent for my birthday. I'm inspired. I've been checking out new kitchen gadgets and cookware (like the Rachael Ray Cookware line--love it! I'll take mine in green, please. Or the blue. Or maybe the yellow. Definitely the orange. Check out the cast-iron grill pan. It's on my Christmas list.) Well, cooking is on. And lucky for you--I have a recipe blog. Check back for some yummy fall meal ideas--completely unoriginal, though. I'm not that inspired.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pumpkin-Ginger Waffles

Happy Fall! I love pumpkin, but it's hard to eat all year round--so I kicked off the season this morning with these pumpkin-ginger waffles. The recipe is adapted from one in a magazine--Country Living, I believe.

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 t. ground ginger

1 t. ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

3/4 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. 100% pumpkin

1/2 sugar

3/4 t. vanilla

3 T. melted butter

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla. Combine with flour mixture and mix until blended smooth. Stir in melted butter. About 1/2 c. per waffle in waffle iron. Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Little Advice.

When you have a party of 8, don't come into a restuarant at 10 till closing time. Especially if you are a group of middle aged women who talk about celebrity couples and tabloid fodder the. entire. time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall Preview

Baking season is just around the corner (T minus 4 days = 1st day of Fall!). To kick-it-off I am going to be breaking out my bakeware and soup pots. Oh, and my crockpot--crockpots are essential during Fall. I've got a few recipes I am dying to try--a lot of them include pumpkin! A teaser: Apple-Cheese Danish and Pumpkin Cannelloni (not together, of course.)

Come back September 22nd for the start of a delicious Fall and every Friday for Soup-er Friday!

Making Your Friday a Little Lighter.

I die everytime I look at this picture.
(Also, an announcment here.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Paypal is a No-Go

Paypal and I are having technical difficulties and like I've mentioned before--they charge a percent per each donation before they issue money received--so I'm not going to be adding it to my blog. Again, if you'd like to donate money to help fund a surgery that may help Dillon see again--here is the information. Money orders, check, or cash is accepted.

Dillon Crawford Fund
BBVA Compass Bank
728 N. Ferdon Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32536
Thank you for all the kind comments, prayers, and donations sent Dillon's way. He truly is an extraordinary kid and I know the Lord has big plans for him. I'll keep an update on the surgery as more information becomes available!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

You've GOT to Read This.

Dillon getting ready to share his story.

Indulge me for a few minutes and read the story I've posted. I'm not just writing this post as a fundraiser, I am, but also to bless you, the reader, with an incredible story filled with faith, inspiration, and hope.

June 28th of last year is a day my husband's side of the family will never forget. Our teenage cousin, Dillon, was in a nearly fatal ATV accident near his home in Baker, FL. (Between Destin and Pensacola) Coincidentally, an off-duty paramedic was passing as the accident was taking place and help was called immediately. Dillon was flown by helicopter to Sacred Heart Hospital, an hour's drive from Baker. The 4-wheeler landed on top of Dillon's head, crushing his skull, and left him with a traumatic brain injury. During this time, doctors told his parents to expect the worse as Dillon's body fought fevers and swelling in his brain. Again, coincidentally, a renowned brain surgeon just happened to be doing work at that particular hospital when Dillon was admitted.

Many times during those first few days we received calls to start praying--they thought Dillon was slipping away, and countless doctors said they had never seen a patient with injuries such Dillon's make any kind of recovery. Dillon was hanging on to life.

He slipped into a coma. His body was healing slowly, but still doctors were skeptical if he would wake up, let alone have any type of brain function. As the weeks went by, his parents, family members, and friends talked with Dillon, held his hand, and prayed and fasted for him.

After 4 months, Dillon started to stir. He slipped in and out of consciousness and began to speak broken words and phrases. As more weeks progressed, Dillon started to regain consciousness and it was discovered that the accident left him completely blind due to damage on the optic nerve from the swelling in his brain. It became apparent that although Dillon's body was badly injured, his personality was still his own. One story that sticks out is when Aunt Carol (Dillon's mom, our aunt) and Cheryl (Travis' mom) were hooking Dillon up to his feeding tube, they would talk to him and tell him he was having great food like steak and potatoes. One day, Cheryl told Dillon he was having hot dogs and asked if he would like ketchup, mustard, and relish. To their surprise, Dillon responded, "Ketchup only, please". Not only was this the first phrase that he actually talked back with, it was something that was very familiar to Carol. Dillon had eaten hot dogs his own life with ketchup only. To me, as a mother, this stuck out--we all know our kid's little quirks.

After spending 6 weeks in the PICU and an additional 9-weeks in an in-hospital rehab clinic in Atlanta, Dillon was able to come home. Carol says, There were many challenges the biggest being that Dillon could no longer see the world with his natural eyesight". She adds, "He has had to learn to see the world with his heart and can truly find beauty in everyone".

Over the early part of this summer, Dillon has made great strides with his rehabilitation. He is able to walk without a cane for short distances and recently told Travis and I a story about walking 150 steps all by himself out to his dog's pen. You can imagine the excitement!

Dillon's story is one that those affected by tragic accidents may be familiar with. Although it was a new type of devastation for our family, many all over the world have experienced similar struggles as they find themselves, or their children, in these types of situations. However, while Dillon was in a coma, he found himself in the presence of the Savior. Dillon had a unique experience that started to emerge with the first few broken words and phrases that came out of his mouth as he was starting wake up.

Over Labor Day weekend, I got the privilege to hear Dillon share his story in a room of 50 or more people--some he barely knew. Sitting in the middle of the room in a chair, unable to see the ones around him, he shared what he experienced. This is his story:

"I awoke in a place much to beautiful to be Earth. As I looked around, I was greeted by my Grandaddy Morgan. (also Travis' grandad who died in 1999) He was so very excited to see me and picked me up and gave me a bear hug. He introduced me to his dad, my Great Granddaddy Morgan, who I had never met. They were both so happy. There was a third person with us, our Savior Jesus Christ.He held my hand and gently eased me away from my grandfathers. We walked beside a big beautiful river and Jesus told me that if I would come back to Earth and tell everyone I knew and met that He is real and that He loved them--every single one--my eyes would be healed. I didn't know anything was wrong with my eyes, though, because I could see Him standing before me. I told him I would do as He asked and I woke up in a hospital".

I had heard the story before, as Dillon has kept his promise and has shared with our family many times. (His mom says everyone else he meets, too!) But hearing this story from Dillon's mouth, in his own words, was truly soul-touching. Dillon speaks with the Spirit and it is hard to question if what he is saying is true--you just know it is, you can feel it.

Recently, Dillon traveled back to the PICU for another surgery. One of the doctors that had administered to Dillon told his parents that Dillon had raised the bar for how badly you can be injured and still survive. Other doctors and nurses mentioned that because he just kept hanging on, so did they--even thought they were certain, at that time, Dillon wouldn't survive.

Here is the fundraiser part--Dillon is getting the opportunity to travel to Peru, where a team of doctors are going to preform a surgery on his eyes. It involves using stem cells from healthy babies' cord blood, not embryonic cells, but is unavailable in the U.S. The surgery alone costs around $30,000 plus travel expenses for him and his parents. They are shooting for an October date for the surgery. This is where you can help. Any contribution would be so greatly appreciated--even prayers. Especially prayers. As Aunt Carol says, "Prayers are the best. We have witnessed first hand the power of praying".

But if you would like to donate money, here is the information:

Dillon Crawford Fund

BBVA Compass Bank

728 N. Ferdon Blvd.

Crestview, FL 32536

We're working on a Paypal account as well. I'm a little disappointed with Paypal as I learned that before they'll issue donations, they take some off the top for themselves. Not cool, Paypal, not cool. But if you'd rather not send a check or money order to the address listed above, I will have a Paypal button featured as soon as they e-mail me back on the difficulties of not being able to embed the HTML code. (also not cool.) You'll be able to put debit and credit card information directly into Paypal and select a donation amount. It's a secure website used by millions of people worldwide and is largely associated with Ebay.

Do you believe in coincidences? I don't. I don't believe it was coincidence that Dillon was able to get help so quickly because of the paramedic that just happened to be passing as the accident was taking place and I definitely don't think it was a coincidence that a renowned brain surgeon just happened to be present when Dillon was admitted into the Emergency Room. The Lord always has a plan. For Dillon, it involves great faith. But he, and the rest of our family, believe in what the Lord Jesus Christ told him: that if he keeps his promise his eyes, and ultimately his body, will be healed.

Thank you, from everyone in our family--especially from Dillon and his parents for taking the time to read this story and contributing by prayers or monetary donations. I will keep an update of Dillon's upcoming surgery on my blog.

Friday, September 11, 2009

RC Part 3

I've never been mistaken for being graceful. So noone should have been surprised when I impulsively ran to catch a rogue football and got drilled in the face. This one solidifies my status in the hall of shame: Bona Fide Idiot.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chocolate Cheese Ball

just make it.

8 oz. cream cheese,softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
1 c. mini-chocolate chips
1 1/2 T. coco powder
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. I did this in my Kitchenaid and left it on for a few minutes. It was a whipped consistency, which I think helped in the texture of the finished cheese ball, just beat it really well if you don't have a high-powdered mixer. Mix in both sugars, coco, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Cover and chill for 2 hours in the fridge. After 2 hours, shape into ball and roll in pecans. Cover and chill for 1 hour more. Serve with graham crackers.

you. are. welcome!

Roadtrip Chronicles Part 2

Spousal differences--always a good debate.
Here's a secret: Travis and I get along better when we're busy, not riding side by side in a car for 6 hours. Here's another secret: Travis has absolutely no internal navigation sense. It's true. I, on the other hand, always seem to know what direction I'm heading and I can't think of a time I've truly been lost. So I often get annoyed at his lack of directional means and he gets annoyed that I am annoyed and you know how the rest of the story goes.

We arrived in east Tennessee just 30 minutes late for the first family reunion, which was earlier than we expected, so score for us. The location of the church (that we have been to several times for this very reunion every year) was lit up by a little star on the GPS, so all is good. Except the little star turns out to be an ally behind what looks to be a condemned building on an unfamiliar street.

Travis drives by. Does a U-E, then drives by again.

"This is not the right place, you know," I suggest.

"But the GPS says it's right here," he replies as the stress starts to appear in his face--metaphorical beads of sweat, if you will.

"Call my mom," he commands.

I'm thinking to myself, The freaking church is just down the road a little further, but I'm debating with myself whether or not I should say that because he is already getting anxious.

He picks up on it and says, "Just do it."

So I do do it because I'm a good little wife like that, but I get no answer. He starts sighing and breathing heavy and looking this way and that. And I just can't handle it anymore, so I blurt out "My goodness, Travis, just drive down a little further. It's going to be here somewhere--we're on Church Street for goodness sakes."

And he says, "If you would have put in the correct address this wouldn't have happened."

Our dilemma: We made it personal. And we're both hot heads, so we were like two little school girls staring out the window with our arms crossed--not speaking.

But then, as Travis drives down a little further, that church appears right in front of us. We pull up and are greeted by family members we haven't seen in months. Once inside, Travis and I made eye contact in the sea of people that were visiting with one another and I knew all was forgiven--just like that. Southern food and friends will do that to ya.

P.S. Travis will completely disagree with this whole story.

P.S.S. I put the correct address in the first time.
P.S.S.S. I've posted something yummy here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Roadtrip Chronicles Part 1

"I'm hungry." "He's looking at me!" "Mommmm" "How much longer?" "STOP touching me!" "I have to pee!" "I forgot to poop" "Can we have a snack?" "When are we going to be there?"
This was the chatter from the backseat as we made a 6-hour drive to Tennessee over the weekend for a family reunion and a 90th birthday celebration.
Keeping little boys entertained for 6 hours is no small feat.
After the DVDs, snacks, and books were consumed in what seemed like 20 minutes they turned their attention to poking and kicking each other, repeating everything that was said, and making up silly songs that were sung over and over and over and over. And over.
But then, we arrived.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Worries Over the Unseen and Possibly the Unevitable

Maybe I've watched too many "what if" type shows on Discovery and the History Channel in my lifetime. You know the ones--what would happen if a super-volcano erupted in the western U.S., if a super-earthquake hit in the biggest cities, and if a super-tsunami hit the Northwest coast of the U.S.--because scientists say, based on evidence billions of years old, we're due for another. Oh yeah, and the world is coming to an end in 2012. Right.

But these days, I am getting worried. Pandemic, they say, is coming--or has already started (and of course I've seen the what-if shows on pandemics, too). I know people who have it. I know someone who knows someone who has died because of it--a healthy someone who died. And my kid is in the public school system-- A.K.A. a cess pool of germs.

It's hard to let the fear of something like this rule your life, though. It's a maybe-maybe not type situation. So we're just trying to be prepared--just in case.

We are focusing on hand-washing all. the. time. Lots of hand sanitizer-- and always in my purse so that when we do go somewhere, it's always with us. Being stocked-up on staples. And I think I'll be going to the store by myself from now on. You are always going to be in the negative, as far as germs go, when kids are around. Especially when they do stuff like lick the freezer door in the frozen food isles and can't resist the urge to touch everything in sight. Because that definitely does happen. Oh, and the water fountain. What kind of magnetic pull does it have for my kids? They can not resist it. And I just can not let them use it. It's just gross.

How about everyone else? Anyone taking precautions?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's Sunday Morning.

Sitting and sipping my herbal tea instead of going to church is one way to start the day--I've always liked playing hooky--but today we (me, Jackson, and Bryce) needed a break from the up-all-night-coughs. Staying in our P.J.s and eating requested ramen noodles for lunch. Throw in some coloring books and play-doh and waiting for my other two guys to return home and then naps all around. Sounds like a one of those Sundays--my favorite kind.
Happiest of Sundays to you too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


As per requested, I'm not deleting my blog--or any links, Miss Brookeanne!
I have displayed one of my most dire faults: Impulsiveness.
I had actually logged on to write a post, got distracted, and said, "to hell with the whole thing". Which I do, in that manner, handle the affairs of life from time to time.
Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's not. But this time, it's just right. Like I said before, I want to focus on other things.
Consider this an extended break, then. Better yet, an extended holiday.
P.S. To the two people who asked if this was because I'm pregnant? That would be a big fat no.
P.S.S. Thanks for the kind comments.

It's Time.

The time has come to end my blog.
A million reasons why, but mostly I want to direct the small amout of time and energy I have for writing to focus on something else.
I could still update on the blog occasionally, yes, but I'm an all or nothin' kind of girl. I'm afraid I can't start another project without ending this one.
It was fun.
P.S. I'll still be reading yours from time to time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Our anniversary plans were foiled. Foiled! We were thinking about going to dinner here, after a big dose of service to our community. The babysitter cancelled, with good reasons. So, we're going to load the kids up and go elsewhere instead. Tell 'em all about their mom and dad. The only requirement: All of us together...and I guess another: I've got to have a big juicy steak.

And you betcha I am wearing my big pants.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Keeping Up With the Jones. Or, as I Like to Call It: Blogging.

So and so just got a brand new car. So and so just went on an awesome vacation. So and so can make and do anything and everything. So and so is building/bought/or remodeling a house. So and so has the best husband and cutest kids who do the cutest things and NEVER get in trouble for anything. Ever. So and so is pregnant with a girl right now.

We've read the blogs. You know what I'm talking about, right? It's called Blog Envy, or as one chick put it: Blenvy.

I always think of blogs as the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Debra and Marie write the Christmas letter. Marie receives a Christmas letter in the mail from a friend detailing their "perfect life" and becomes insanely jealous. Her and Debra set out to write a family update of their own, manipulating happenings from the year to make themselves sound good on paper. It's hilarious. And it's one of the reasons I don't write about all the stuff we're doing, or places we're going, or things we're getting: I feel like I'm writing the Christmas letter! (But, I do like to read everyone else's! Really!)

Now, I'm not saying that people are lying on their blogs. But I'm not seeing any posts about the latest knock-down drag out with their spouse either. Or the fact that they hate their in-laws (not me!). Or that their credit card debt is out of control (not me, either!). Or whatever. Because those things are happening too, but most people don't display the bad stuff for the world to see. And that's good! Who wants to read about misery? We already get a daily dose of that from the World News!

I've had my fair share of Blenvy. But, these days, I'm more excited for people than anything. If we can overcome this economy and all the crappy stuff that's going on right now? Hooray! That means there just might be hope for someone who's not overcoming it.

The next time you're reading a blog and thinking, "Poor me, I wish I could do that" remember the Christmas letter. Because the life you are reading about has some kind adversity going on right now, too. I'm sure of it.

P.S. I just got the cutest haircut. The stylist said I have perfect hair.


Friday, August 14, 2009

That's My Son

I was always a sucker for brand new markers, too. This is what happened when I walked away from "art time", for just a minute, when the phone rang. His muse? Channeling a monkey--complete with appropriate sounds and actions....and lots of laughs from 2 brothers urging him on, I'm sure. And if you were wondering, they aren't washable markers. It took a whole day and two baths for it to go away completely. I'm chalking this one up as a creativity project.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 Down, 179 To Go

1 down, 179 to go.

He did great!

Except....he climbed a tree at recess and supposedly told another teacher NO when he was told to get down. He says he didn't hear her....and I believe him. Nevertheless, he promised to apologize today.

He got off the bus with red impressions on his face--he fell asleep!

He made some new friends and came home with a birthday party invitation.

He wasn't as excited to go this morning, but when he got on the bus I heard him say, "Good Morning Ms. Morgan" to his bus driver and sat right down.

I think his first day went pretty well....but, you know, I wasn't there so I don't really know...which drives me nuts!

I'd say parents need more adjusting than the kiddos do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kindergarten Superstar.

A quarter of my heart walked right out the front door this morning and hopped on a school bus. A gament of emotions was felt this morning as Triston got ready for his first day of school. I was nervous, wondering if I had given him too much information about what to expect. Travis--sad, not quite ready for Triston to go to school. Jackson--anger, thinking it wasn't quite fair that he didn't get to go. And Triston, well, I think he was excited and worried that bullies would be lurking in the corners and in the back of the bus. He pushed his nervousness aside, though, and hopped right on that bus without hesitation. The tears, from both Travis and I, were unexpected as the bus drove away with our little buddy inside.

It's a weird feeling--my son is embarking on the beginning of his life without us, so to speak. Today is the first day that I or Travis won't be there to correct mistakes, double check that he looked both ways, weigh cons and pros with him, and to shelter him from all bad stuff out there.

I know it's only Kindergarten today, but we'll wake up tomorrow and he will be leaving for college. Time sure does fly.
Thanks for all the well-wishes. Triston loved the attention!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School Fare Rant

Back to School is big business.
School Supplies--20.00
School Clothes--100.00
Lunch Money for two weeks--20.00
The fee I have to pay for full-day Kindergarten--5.00 a day (which equals 100.00 a month, thank you)
I am sufficiently broke. Either I am just now coming to terms with how much kids really cost OR the public school system has some issues. Funny, I thought that the nearly half of Travis' paycheck that comes out every month for taxes would have covered more than it does. My bad.
Indiana--one of only three states that make us pay for public school--you suck.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oh, Jackson

Three year olds are just funny. I can't begin to imagine what their outlook on the world is. Here is a glimpse at mine.

J: Wroll my window down, it's locked. Can you please wroll my window down? MOM! Wroll my window down, I like lots of wind when we're on the highway. Wroll it down!

Me: Jackson, I'm not rolling it down.

J: Mom. Mom. Just wroll it down because I like all that wind. If you don't do it, I am going to go to Africa and stick my hand in an ant hole.

Me: ????????????????????? then, "Why would you do that?"

J: I don't WANT to do that, but if you can't wroll my window down I'm going there and I'm doin' that.

Me: ?????????????????????

Where did that come from?? Sounds like he is getting an early start on how to finagle circumstances in his favor. I don't even want to know what this same conversation is going to be like in 10 years. When we got home, I had fresh sweet corn sitting on the floor in a bag. Here's what Jackson says to Travis.
J: Are we going to have that corn for dinnor?

T: Yeah, we are. Do you like corn?
J: Yeah, it just fills me with love....and he says it so matter of fact
Me and T: Die laughing.

Last week we were picking up sticks in the yard. I said....

Me: Oh, this one is so big.

J: Yeah, it's gargantuan.

Me: What? What did you say it was?
J: (With a shoulder shrug) It's wreally big.

Where do they come up with this stuff?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Crush Time

As I was sorting through the leftovers from shoppers apparently a little eager to get the kiddos back in school, I came across locker organizers.

Locker organizers, or maybe just locker organization, was big for me back in high school. Me and a gaggle of my girlfriends would go into the school a few days early and prep our lockers for the year. Mine would always include a mirror, lip gloss, and pictures of my celebrity crushes.

I'm embarrassed to post the Calvin Klein ad of Mark Wahlberg that I lovingly looked at every day. It was a little, ahem, risque for high school....and even now I'm a little flustered just thinking about it. Here's a cleaner version. And then there were pictures of Brad Pitt A.K.A. Tyler Durden from Fight Club. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz when he was still cool. I still love that picture.

I started giggling to myself, because high school demeanor is funny. It just is and I think I'm going to laugh a lot when I start teaching. I digress. Anyway, it's been awhile since I've actually even thought of celebrities as a crush. (Because you know Edward is a character. I'm not really in to Robert Pattinson, even though I have been known to google him once or twice.) My husband just does it for me all the way around.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Bad.

Since the "digital switch" occurred in June, I have not watched a weather report in full. Why you ask? Because cable does not reach to the depths of the woods my friends and I'm too cheap to pay for cheap T.V. via satellite, if you know what I mean. Call it addiction prevention--I've been known to veg on Real Housewives marathons for days. Sometimes, like witnessing a really gruesome train wreck, you just can't look away.

So yesterday, when I posted about loving thunderstorms and yada yada, I had no idea what was coming. I thought it would be hazy for a few more hours and then pass like usual. We went to the pool as promised to three special little boys, stopped for ice cream because Triston finally conquered his fear of deep water and started putting his shallow-water moves to good use, and made it home just in time.

Just in time to barely make it in the house before being blown away and pummeled with fierce hail. I'm no weatherman, but I'm pretty sure that when hail is coming down, in August, you'd better take cover. And I recently learned that when it's raining and windy, out here, to be aware because one or more of the trees that makes up the forest in the backyard could come crashing down at anytime, so I WAS SCARED. Which naturally scared the kids, which was just sad. Especially the baby. He covered his eyes with his blanket and kept saying, "scared". Broke my heart....

....and then--BLACKOUT. For 26 hours. Boo.
Nashville shut its doors--everything closed down.
The roads looked like war zones with uprooted trees and wayward limbs.
But, the best part:
Travis got to stay home today.
And that is precisely why I love thunderstorms.
(But next time, I'll take just a few gray clouds and just a tad of rain.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Thunderstorm.

Kenyan Safari

We woke up to a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. It seemed as though the lightening strikes were right outside our window, and they may have been, for the thunder was as loud as I've heard it for quite awhile. One time, in Jacksonville, we had just stepped out of our car and were headed for the door when lightening struck just 25 yards from us in the parking lot of our apartment complex. It scared my babies and they cried and cried and cried. You know, because of the noise. They even cried the next time it rained because they thought the lightening would strike that close again. This time, though, they slept right through it.

The morning is gray and wet. The canopy of leaves that shade our house makes it look like twilight instead of morning, especially today, and the security light is still on. I want to stay in bed and read books all day--my contribution to the depressed state of the sky, but the kiddos want to swim. Since it's an indoor pool, they win.

But maybe I'll get time to at least sit on the porch and watch the gray clouds roll by. Afterall, it is one my favorite things to do--I love thunderstorms.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Genius or Over the Line? I'm Just Not Sure.

Maybe I went over the line. I don't know. But I was tired of hearing my three-year-old Jackson have a potty mouth. Especially at the table. So when he said for the 3rd time that he wanted "poop for dinner", I delivered. I concocted the best fake poop ever out of peanut butter, oats, flour, and coco powder. Seriously, it looked exactly like poop. And when Jackson saw it at his respective seat, on a plate no less, he went into hysterics. "Is that wreally poOP? (big letters signal elevated pitch) "Yep. You said you wanted poop. Here you go." "I. AM. not. EATING thAT!" "Jackson, this is what you wanted, right?" "No. No. I. AM. NOT. EATING THAT!" and then the crying started. Maybe I went over the line here, but at the very least he got an idea of what it would be like to really get poop for dinner.
And he hasn't said a word about since.

(Before you call Child Protective Services, please note that I did end up letting him in on the secret. And he ate a bite of it. And laughed--a lot. But, I think he got the point, no less.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Pouring

I met my mom for a shopping trip on Wednesday and I returned home just fine. Thankfully. Because after the rake broke when I wasn't quite finished raking the yard, my flip-flop snapped, my favorite barrette came apart, the heating element in the dryer went out and the refrigerator door just fell off without warning, all within 24 hours, I wasn't so sure I should go.
But, like I said before, thankfully I made it home, to the sound of rushing water under the house.
A burst pipe that left us hotel bound.
Gives new meaning to the phrase "When it rains, it pours".
But no worries, here.
We're all happy and healthy.
Everything else just adds some color.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Finale

picture link here

The hugely embarrassing ending: I threw up after riding the Star Trooper.
I rode the Scrambler when I didn't want to. I stood by and took pictures of my babies having a blast. I held on to a crying squirming Bryce because he was too little to go with his brothers.

I did my motherly duties as far as the fair goes.

We had to walk past the Star Trooper to get to our car. Of course, it's the coolest ride at the fair with the loud music and all. I was a sucker for those kinds of rides too when I was a kid. I was betting that the kiddos wouldn't be tall enough to ride, but the operator says, "Sure!". Triston pleads with us that he "just has to ride that ride" and Travis is being a wuss.

I reluctantly say, "Ooookaay" and hop on a basket that swings from a strip of metal. It wasn't that bad the first time around. When Triston and I were done, Jackson is on the sidelines crying because he wanted to go too and he looks at me with pleading eyes. Travis is crowned King of ALL WUSSES, and I hop in the basket again.

The rest is history. I held it until we got home and then I upchucked my dinner. I blame Travis for not manning up and riding the freaking ride AND taking the curves on our CURVY too quick. Plus, he laughed at me and I heard him tell his brother on the phone, "That is awesome." So not cool, Travis. So not cool.

I surpassed the calls of motherhood that night. I hope they remember this. But, if they don't I will be sure to remind them. (and Travis, too. This surely earns a freebie of my choice, right?)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Too Bad You Don't Have a Palette

I had visions of a purple ribbon. "Grand Champion" cookies, I would boast, but it did not happen for me this year. I entered these babies in the country fair and got a blue ribbon for them. A blue ribbon does not do these cooks justice--they truly are the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever, which I properly labeled on the entry form. Whoever judged apparently did not get the memo--I lost to Pumpkin Bread. (and we all know it was probably quick bread from a box OR the judge's relative, but whatever.)

It was fun anyway.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Feeling My Age, Too.

Last week, my friend Courtney posted about how she attended an alumni soccer game that her husband was playing in and with all the teeny boppers there, she was feeling her age. I could relate. (But, my goodness we're only 26. There is something wrong with this, no?)

Last night, we went to the Brown County State Fair/4-H Fair. I was getting the feeling that Fair Week is kind of a big deal around here---I was right, and I love it. I guess I could say that I am a fair person--solely for the food. Nothing makes me happier than the whiff of good Kielbasa Sausage and fried Elephant Ears. Oh, and a Big Red. You've got to have a Big Red at the fair, right? And a Lemonade Shake-up. And Cotton Candy. And Fried Tenderloins.....

Ahem. I was saying.....

The fair was bombarded by teenagers, which of course I expected. But, I have never seen so many teenagers that look like this:

Metro Station

And I was totally disturbed. Skinny jeans do not look good on boys. On any boys. Ever. But especially on people who are not rock stars, or in the case of the band Metro Station, pop stars or electronic music stars? I just don't know.

I totally get it, now. I totally get why parents cringe and worry and fuss over their teens. I totally get why parents fear the coming-of-age adolescent and that kid's need to be an individual AND DRESS LIKE THAT. I totally get how things could always be worse than how your kid dresses, but ohmygosh, I would die if my boys were rocking that gear. And I totally felt like I was 52 instead of 26. Especially when one of the aforementioned "dressers" whispered something to his friend and they looked at either me or Travis and laughed.

And to my Mom and Dad: I am totally sorry I put you through the teen years. Forgive me quick before Triston, Jackson, and Bryce hit puberty (cringe) and I have to go through that. Okay? Good.

More fair stories to come with a hugely embarrasing ending.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Where Are You, Summer?

Seriously. 65-75 degree weather does not cut it for July.
We've woken up several mornings to 50 degrees.
We haven't been swimming outside in a month because it's been too mild.
What gives, July?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

They Really Do Love Me.

Getting ready for church on Sunday, Jackson walks in my bedroom and says, "Mom, you look pwretty. Are you going to be a pwrincess?" (I was wearing a gauzy ruffly skirt, which is my favorite, ever, that I got on sale at the Gap for $16.00 last year. It's the perfect shade of blue, and I just love it. That morning I matched it up with a black-fitted tee and leopard print ballet flats. Love it.)

At church, Jackson crawls up on my lap and whispers, "You have the pwrettiest eyes, Mom".

Yesterday at dinner, Triston asks if one day he will like girls. I told him, "Absolutely", but secretly I was cringing. He says, "But there is no other girl as pretty as you. Can't I just marry you?" Jackson chimes in, "yeah, I'm going to mare-wee you too and wive with you forever.

Add in Bryce and all the kisses he slobbers all over my face and the joy that lights up his eye when I walk into the room (unless he is doing something he is not supposed to like unwrapping ALL of the toilet paper from a double roll and stuffing it into the toilet. So not cool.).

I guess this makes up for all the jumping, yelling, fighting, running, climbing, head-locks, and sheer ornery-ness.
It's good to have boys.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ch-Ch-Check It Out.

If you want to feed your family, click here.

If you want to know what to buy (or what not to buy), click here.

My Favorite Breakfast

Steel-Cut Oats, Honey, Banana, Cinnamon, Crumbled Raw Pecan

Love it!

Saute de Poulet (Sauteed Chicken)

My french experiment. It was quite simple--I got it out of a French cookbook for kids. But, it was delightful. A recipe I will add to the rotation.

any kind of chicken (I used chicken breast cut in half)
1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme + extra for sprinkling
1/4 t. pepper
2 butter
olive oil
bay leaf, finely crumbled
crushed garlic
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
fresh mushrooms

Combine flour, salt, thyme, and pepper, mix well. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil together until melted. Roll chicken pieces in flour mixture and place into pan. Brown chicken and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle chicken pieces with thyme, bay leaf and garlic. Add chicken broth, gradually, and mushrooms to pan.

Stir and cover (with a slight opening so steam can escape). Reduce heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes. You will have a yummy extra tender chicken dinner. Spoon mixture over chicken upon serving. Yum.

Homemade Tomato Soup

I made this on a whim. It turned out really good.

Canned tomatoes (I used canned garden tomatoes, about 28 oz.)
1 can of chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth also)
cayenne pepper
olive oil

*I guess-timate a lot. Use your own discretion when measuring. Also, make sure you add enough sugar to counter-act the acidity of the tomatoes!

Saute a little garlic and onion in olive oil until tender. In a blender, combine tomatoes, broth, sauteed garlic and onion, and rest of ingredients. Puree until smooth and pour into pot. Bring to a rolling boil and serve with grilled cheese. I added a dollop of sour cream to top the soup.

Breakfast Casserole

My family goes crazy for this. It's a family recipe that we picked up in Tennessee. It started out as a Holiday breakfast, but has worked its way into dinner on a week night. I've also made it for several brunches, especially good for showers.

1 lb. breakfast sausage
4 eggs
2 cups shredded Colby-jack or cheddar
1 package crescent rolls

Preheat oven at 350. Open crescent rolls and layer the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan with 2 triangles. Try to stretch crescent rolls to cover bottom. Place in oven until rolls start to puff. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook sausage according to package, drain, set aside. Crack eggs in medium sized bowl and beat until you have a consistency like you were making scrambled eggs. Add cheese and mix well. Combine with sausage and mix well. Pour sausage mixture into pan on top of puffed crescent rolls. Place remaining crescent rolls on top and bake until top is golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

A Healthy Snack

That'd be:
All Natural Yoplait Vanilla Yogurt
Handful of Fresh Locally Grown Blueberries
Crumbled Raw Pecan

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It Took Me Awhile.

I've lived in Nashville since the end of November. Just last week, a whole 7 months later, we took a drive around. By around, I mean we've drove to work, the actual town part of Nashville, Columbus, or Bloomington and that's it. So we drove around what is Brown County and then ventured out from there.

I was in awe. Awe because I really do live in the most beautiful part of the state. Awe because after so much negativity about this area, I was enlightened. Here I've been grumbling about feeling stuck where we are and wishing for our time here to expire so we can move on to bigger and better things. (i.e. a bigger city).

What a silly girl I am. There's quite a lot more than meets the eye around here.

The next day I go into town and run into another t-ball parent. Then the librarian asks me how we're doing and she means it. Then a lady I've come to know from work shows up at the same yard sale. Then some random man strikes up a conversation at CVS. Turns out his kids went to USI and now they are in law school--weird. It's kind of nice to run into people you know. Or, even if you don't you find out you really do--indirectly.

You don't find that in a bigger city. Or, at least not on the same scale.

Another road trip is planned. Too much too be covered in one day, but I'm packing my camera this time and I can't wait to document my finds.

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