Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A year in review

I'm sitting here checking my usual online stuff--mommy forums, facebook, blogs, etc -- and I'm thinking man, who knew? who knew 2008 would bring me all it did? I turned 25, and you know what? Even though everyone who reads this is older than I am, 25 is a big deal. I always felt like it was the year you were really a grown up. You're not in your early 20's, you can't really be in college anymore, even if you are, then you're a good bit older than everyone else there, you are old enough to be married and possibly have a kid or two--I mean 25 seemed huge. And it is. So, I turned 25. I got fired from my job. This, oh by the way, is the first time I've ever been fired. I felt good knowing I stood up for myself. I didn't walk away feeling like I did anything wrong. I didn't get fired for showing up late, I didn't lose my job because I wasn't a hard worker. I did what I knew was right. Period. In turn, we got our head on straight about debt, paid off both our cars and saved enough money to get 2 big screen tvs. Being at home enhanced my marriage, encouraged my relationship with my son, made me a better wife, mother, and home maker and all in all we are so much happier. I made lots of new friends, some I will keep for the rest of my life and some I've already 'dumped.' :) 2008 brought lots of changes. Changes in my life and changes in me. And that's awesome. I have grown more in the last 6 months than maybe in the last 6 years. I look at my life and there is so much more I'm happy with. I'm happy exactly where I am. I'm proud to say I'm a mother I would look up to. I'm proud to say I'm a mother that others do look up to.

Happy 2008 everyone, and good luck with 2009. May it bring many surprises, and changes and may it bring much life. May we leave it better than we found it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The ghosts of Christmas Future

I had a theme going so for my New-Years-Resolutions post I thought I would call it the ghost of Christmas future though it is only the ghost of 2009 I guess.

I was under the impression we were only allowed to have one resolution each, but my friend Kerry assured me she had several in cue for next week so I decided to follow suit and have several for mine as well.

  1. Lose 10 pounds. This one actually had to be altered to 15 since I gained 5 pounds while at my parents house for Christmas. But whatever. I guess it could just say "be back to the weight I was when I got married."
  2. Learn Spanish. For real this time. I have been a mediocre spanish speaker for almost 6 years now and really, it's time I just buckled down and did it. Honestly, there is no reason I shouldn't have done this already. It will help me tremendously here in Mexi.. err Atlanta when I rejoin the work force in coming years and to be honest, I think it is just a good skill to have.
  3. Start School. Gwinnett Technical college offers a very good Medical Assistant program and I would like to start in August.
  4. Stop biting my fingernails. Really, this is an incredibly disgusting habit and it needs to stop. Period.
So, in the wake of realizing I had gained 5 pounds in Kentucky, I decided to get an early start and went for a 3 mile run today. I am so sorry I did that. I am not hydrated well and so I almost died when I got back. Because I ran competitively for 5 years, I have this mentality that I just need to push myself to reach my goals. So even if I am dieing in route, I will continue to run toward the light... er I mean my goal even if it means I may cease living. So while I am running, I'm fine, but then as soon as I am done, "what was I thinking?" (with added obscenities) is what is running through my brain for the next 3 hours.

All the same, I will be going jogging again in the morning with Kerry and my new jogging stroller (awesome!) and all three of our kids in tow. I'm so serious about losing this weight it's ridiculous! I want to be tip-top for our cruise. For 1: It's a cruise. I'd like to look half decent in my bathing suit, and 2: you gain 10 pounds on a cruise anyway. Mine as well get ahead while I can.

Writing down my new year's resolutions really got me to thinking about what else I'd like to accomplish in life in general. I was thinking, learn Tagalog (why can't I speak 3 languages?), learn Piano (I mean I have one, so why not play it?), finish school, and maybe run a half marathon some day, though that one had a little question mark at the end. All in all it just gave me an opportunity to reevaluate my priorities and goals and that was really cool. I haven't really had the opportunity to think about that kind of stuff since I started staying home and so it made me feel really good knowing there is so much more to my life for me now.

So, in 2009 what would you guys like to see here on a journey somewhat familiar? It would be a lot easier to write if I knew what you guys wanted to read! Comment and let me know!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas present

It is two days after Christmas, and to be honest, for our family it is actually a week after Christmas. Since we came to Kentucky for Christmas, I didn't think it would be smart to bring wrapped presents 400 miles just to unwrap them and take them home. So, we did our Christmas at home last Sunday. We got Anakin lots of little things and he got one big thing from both me and Dennis. I got him a Lightning McQueen shaving kit (fake of course) and Dennis got him a pirate costume. He loved everything of course.

Dennis did a lot of his own purchases this year. He got himself a bluray player, a video camera, and several video games he wanted. I got him an ipod shuffle for working out a book and a video game expansion pack he asked for.

The big moment was what he got me. He got me a few books and some DS games I had asked for and then I got to open my "big" present, which was a totally awesome jogging stroller. Then it turned out my REAL big present was a 5-day cruise! Awesome, right? I totally said the F-word on camera. Yeah, I was surprosed. Now I can't wait. But it ports in 90 days so we have a lot to do to get ready. Not to mention I am leaving for Seattle on Thursday so I'm hoping everything that needs to happen will get done. Anyway, I am super super excited and have already started shopping for a cocktail dress to wear on the ship! I've also been shopping for party shirts, but after having little luck with that, I think I may make some. We'll see!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The ghosts of Christmas past.

I'm in Kentucky, and let me very clear: I never like coming here. Given that my father is a regular blog subscriber, this is certainly no secret. But I feel the efforts are growing increasingly more difficult with each visit. The things that used to not seem like such a big deal now tax my patience and by the third day (ummm yeah that's today) I'm really really really ready to go home and often shed a few tears (which I did) into Dennis's shoulder. We are waiting around here another day for my sister and her family to come down from Iowa and to be honest, if they weren't coming, we wouldn't have come at all. It's a long trip (much longer it seems, with a 2 year old) and is very hard to make in the dead of winter. The weather can be unpredictable but as history would repeat itself, yet again it is cold and dismal here, with no snow to relieve the dissapointment.

I often call these trips "a reminder of my humble beginnings" and although things are much the same, little changes have crept their ways into this little town. It seems in a big city like Atlanta, where the recession (how much longer till we call it a depression) is strong and the economy crippled that our woes don't reach this far out, yet on the walk between my in-laws and my parents this morning (yes they live in the same neighborhood which isn't nearly as great as it seems, I can assure you) I saw two homes foreclosed. I saw them when we drove in but the walk gave me time to look at them, take them in, spend time thinking about the story behind the loss. On the street where my parents live, Amanda Ct., the canvas of all my childhood memories, there is a home just three units up from ours with the big yellow stickers on the front window. The VandeSteegs lived there when I was growing up. Sarah was 2 years older than me, lanky with stringy black hair. She liked wolves and horses and anything out doorsy and had a pretty red bike. Now the window shades are open to the cavernous empty rooms where the tenants left a few belongings. A lonely windchime still hangs from the front light and sings a dreary song in the cold winter breeze. The upstairs screens are busted and leaning against the walls on the inside of the house, and as you pass by, you suddenly get that sour feeling in the pit of your stomach, like when you pass a car wreck so bad, you know someone died. Someone did die here, I think as I recognize the brown paint on the walls. Someone's worth perished in a bank account. Someone's life-savings rose and fell like the tides of the wind that run across the tips of the trees that grow behind this home's back yard. Let me say, too that this is not an extravagant house. Nor is it a shack. It is a 4 bedroom, 2 floor, maybe 3000 square foot home with a full, unfinished basement. At least the basement was unfinished last time I was there which may have been 15 years ago. The house is probably worth around $125 in good condition and in a good market. Houses are cheaper in Kentucky anyway. But to go back to the emotion of it all, it just reminded me that life goes on with or without our presence. That children are born and that lives are lost and the world keeps moving and things keep changing and people are dieing. Maybe they are still breathing and their heart is still beating, but life is gone. Their life is gone. In looking at this house, I am filled with a sadness so overwhelming I can hardly breathe. In my consciousness, I blame the cold thin air, but in reality, I know it is fear. We are blessed, and God has met all our needs. And I know, no matter how bad it gets, he will continue to provide, but the roads he paves for us are often broken, and hard, and painful. And I'm scared for what's to come.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The spider-man quilt has begun.

I had intended beginning my next quilt after the holidays but decided to go ahead and give it a whirl since I found the supplies at Joann on sale. And by supplies I mean one of those cool quilt starter kits, normally about $30 on sale for $10. While I realize buying one of these kits is (technically) cheating, let me just say that I will be building my own quilt out of this and my only intention was to find all the fabric I wanted in one little bag supplied in the perfect increments. I still had to do all the measuring, cutting and sewing myself, but didn't have to visit ten fabric stores reminding myself why I don't do this more often. That being said, hopefully I will only have to visit one fabric store to find what I want to finish this one as well. We'll see. Optimism is only a hobby of mine.

Here is the general idea. What I'm hoping to do is simply build off this with a layer of blue and another layer of red. It will all depend on how big I really want it (aka settle for). The kit I bought only made like a 30" quilt. I'm like what is that? A quilt for one of Santa's elves? Not sure, but obviously more is going to have to come of it.

And the best part of spiderman quilt pack? Spiderman argyle.

Monday, December 15, 2008

bridesmaid dresses and God's intention.

After Eve ate the apple, I think it went "Now you suffer through menstral cycles and painful childbirth and thou shalt wear ugly bridesmaid dresses for all eternity." Something like that. Originally, my sister in law said I could wear whichever dress I wanted from David's Bridal as long as I chose it in the color she wanted. The color was pool which is a fancy word for teal which is a fancy word for gross. However, when both her cousins chose the same dress, I obviously had to wear what they had chosen so I didn't look like the idiot wearing the wrong dress. And so this is what they chose. Let me just say here that for two 21 year old girls who weigh 100 lbs each, soaking wet, this dress is perfect. But for my big butt, not so much. So I will probably be wearing a body suit under it and holding my breath the entire time. If I faint, I'm sure Dennis will catch me. And if she had chosen the dress in maybe black, I could possibly wear it again. But since it's teal, I mean "pool", I might try to sell it on ebay when we're done.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

to whom it may concern:

I am hereby submitting my resignation letter. I have enjoyed my time working with this company and feel I have learned many skills that will allow me to move up substantially in future positions. However, I no longer have the energy to clean poopy underwear, mop urine from my carpet, cook 2 square meals 6 days a week, do the dishes, clean the said urine-soaked clothing, bathe, train, and raise a society-acceptable 2-year-old and still maintain my sanity. I am leaving to pursue other opportunities in the form of a weekend away with my girlfriends. I'll be back on Monday.


All joking aside, some days are harder than others. Today = extra hard. I was not expecting to have Dean all day today, and I, of course, don't mind at all that his mom asked me to keep him all day so she could do some things at school. But that doesn't make it any less exhausting. And to only increase the insanity, both the boys were in a foul mood today and I'm trying desperately to get the house cleaned up before we have company over this weekend. "Why are you cleaning when you have two moody toddlers, Rach?" I hear you ask with that note of sarcasm in your voice. I assure you, it would be worse if I was dealing with them nonstop. When they are moody, if I just let them play and fight and work it out, that's exaclty what they do: work it out. If I am hovering over them, it makes them come to me every time a pin is dropped and say "Mommy, Dean did this" "Mommy, Anakin hurt me!" It is better just to tell them I am busy and stay in the other room, in ear shot of something seriously going wrong. And also, the satisfaction of actually cleaning something is incredibly cathartic. It reminds me that I have purpose in this house. That Dennis is not working to help me stay home merely to play video games and make sure the boys don't kill each other.

On that note, I have made a lot of progress with Anakin's lessons. He has officially learned all his colors, all his shapes and about 10 letters. Go me! Go Anakin! Nonetheless, he will definitely be starting preschool in January (which will be when we officially have both cars paid off) at a local Church Preschool program that came highly reccomended. The mesely 3 hours a day I will regain twice a week won't be enough time to do much, but perhaps it will at least give me a little room to breathe again. I will officially no longer be Dean's care-giver as of tomorrow afternoon so that will certainly give me some more energy as well and I am actually kind of looking forward to this new chapter in my mommy-life. I've already decided to start taking a Pilates class once a week with a friend while our boys are at school and I'm really excited I may be able to get back my pre-mommy belly!

With all that out, it leaves me to look back and see all that I appreciate about this new part of my life. Karen asked me when I saw her recently in the midst of her great trek to El Paso, what was my favorite part of being a stay at home mom. I took a moment to deliberate; should I tell my generic answer, or should I tell my heart. After realizing Karen would recognize the lie, I told her, "I struggled a lot with post-pardum depression. Now, looking back, I realize how bad it really was but when I was going through it, my friends and family told me what I was feeling was normal and so I just went on like nothing was wrong. In turn, Anakin and I didn't really have a relationship. We didn't bond the way most moms do with their babies. I really struggled to love him because all I could think was You ruined my marriage/family/body/career. But now that I'm out of that, and I get to spend every day with this wonderful gift God gave me, I am reminded of how sovereign and awesome the Lord is, and how incredibly knowing He is. And now Anakin is one of my best friends. We play games, and tell stories and have conversations and just be together. That's the best part. The best part is watching this little baby become a boy and that boy become my second-best friend. And also, in turn, my marriage is so much better. That's the best part. My family finally being the family I knew I always wanted."

Okay, with maybe a few less/more words. But that was the idea. So. Somedays are harder than others. And today I am about ready to quit. But Anakin has been asleep for about an hour and I find myself already listening to hear his little feet get out of bed. Because that's the best part of my entire day. When he opens the door, with that expectant face, and then he sees me and his eyes light up. "There she is!" his heart screams "There's my best friend! There's my mommy!"

Friday, December 5, 2008

My friend posted this on her blog- auther is unknown

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'

I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

thanksgiving and the days that followed

I'm so sorry I haven't been posting. If you had told me, "Rachael you're going to be a stay-at-home-mom and your life is going to be hectic" 6 months ago, I wouldn't have believed you, but alas the days grow full and free time sparse.

The four days that encapsulates Thanksgiving might have been the longest two weeks of my life. Yeah I said that on purpose. I love my family very much, but I often struggle with tolerating them for long periods of time. I expressed to Dennis that I think my tolerance levels are depleting, even. Something about having children makes the little things about in-laws seem like big things. I constantly reminded myself that this was just a visit and it would be over soon.

Thursday morning, we did our traditional eggrolling contest which was prefaced by many weeks of smack talking and various betting. I lived up to my claims and won the contest by 3. I received an awesome massage from my darling sister, Donna, and all was well in my world.

Friday I went black Friday shopping, sorry there are no pictures. Danielle (pictured here) had to be at work at Kohl's at 3:45am and since Kohl's is the first place I like to go every year anyway, I took her to work and then took my post about 100 people back in line to get in to the store. Donna joined me shortly after and we waited about 20ish minutes to get in. Once in, with no apprehension on getting gifts or certain items or whatever, we casually perused the store while wild white-trash maniacs devoured under-priced toys and cheaply made comforters. My items of note:
  1. Chutes and Ladders, Hi-ho Cheerio, and Candy Land all for under $4 each
  2. a griddle for Donna and Kyle (the newlyweds) for $10
  3. and a brother sewing machine for $60.
The sewing machine was an especially awesome find because I only knew it was there when the guy in check-out line behind me had 3. I asked if he had gotten the last of them to which he replied "yes, but they may have restocked" and sent me in their general direction. Sure enough, there were 2 left. After strongly considering both, I took only one and got back in line. For future reference, this was the worst part. We stood in line for checkout for an hour and a half and I know they had every single checkout line open. But we had some hilarious line mates whom we joked with about random items we passed as the line progressed, so all was well. At the end, I also received $20 Kohl's cash, which is as good as cash considering Kohl's is like heaven in a grey building.

Dennis joined in the fun and braved BestBuy at 5am. He got us a bluray player for like $180 and he got me a new bluetooth since mine bit the dust. I love my new bluetooth and we watched our bluray this morning and it is awesome. You could see fuzzies on the jacket of Deloris Umbridge in the Order of the Phoenix. Oh yeah, we also bought all 5 of the current Harry Potter movies at this awesome used DVD store we found in e-town.

By Saturday, we were ready to go home. Anakin kept saying "I want go bye-bye" and we knew it was time to head that way. We talked about leaving first thing Sunday morning at like 3am but quickly realized we couldn't possibly spend one more night in this god-forsaken town and we headed out at about 10:30pm. My awesome friend, Michelle, talked me all the way past Nashville (3 hours! what an awesome friend!) and when Dennis took over just before the mountains, we got some gas and popped in the last disc of Harry Potter. I laid back to sleep but found myself entranced in the book and mostly just laid with my eyes closed. We got home at 4:30am (6 hours exactly!) and rested in our own bed, thankful we missed the traffic and happy to have a day to rest before starting a new week. I can't believe we are planning on heading back to KY for Christmas and am instantly sorry these are the plans we've made. It's okay, family is family and someday I will be missing them and wishing the long holidays were here again. I was really reminded of this when, for some reason, I started missing my Aunt Paula so bad it ached. Not that we've ever spent Thanksgiving or Chistmas at her house in Florida, but just hat long trips used to take us different places. So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for family that drives me crazy. But I am very happy to be home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday mornings come too soon.

So Anakin has been sick. I went to a movie with my friend, Tammy on Friday and when I got home, I went upstairs to check on him and he was burning up... and not sleeping. I took his temp and it was 103!! I stripped him down, gave him some tylenol and rubbed a clod washcloth all over his back. That got it down a little and certainly got him back to sleep. When it was 102 the next morning, an obvious trip to the doctor was in order. Sure enough, he has an infection in his right ear. We put him on some insanely expensive antibiotics (because he is allergic to amoxicillan) and a tylenol/ibuprofin regimen. He is doing better today, no fever, but obviously still sick.

We are going preschool shopping so I will let you know how that goes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Best Meatloaf EVER!

Ok, I am so proud to say that this is my own personal recipe formed from years of attempted perfection. We ate this on Wednesday and both my husband and I agreed, this is as good as it gets!

1 pound ground turkey
1 can sliced carrots
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup oatmeal
1 T minced onion (or you can cut a fresh one if you care)
1 T Oregano (really one shake from the bottle should do it)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place in loaf pan or shallow baking dish covered in tinfoil (this is what I do!) and bake at 350º for about an hour or until internal temperature is 180º. I serve it with greenbeans and corn or blackeyed peas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Smothered Chicken

Smothered Chicken


Chopped Onion

Chopped Celery

Minced Garlic

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 can golden mushroom soup

3 T Worcestershire sauce

4 T Butter

1. Brown chicken in butter.

2. Add veggies and garlic, and cook 3-5 min

3. Stir in tomatoes, soup, and Worcestershire sauce.

4. Heat to a boiling, and let simmer 5 minutes.

I like this with rice

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Adopt a child for Christmas

Hey everyone, I know the economy is rough this year and with me losing my job in June, trust me I understand how tight it is. But I just wanted to share with you an awesome ministry I participate in and offer up the opportunity for anyone who would like to also contribute.

The name of the organization is the MAX. It's run out of Lawrenceville and it is a program that reaches out to children in poverty stricken neighborhoods where there is gang activity, drug activity, and prostitution to name a few. Pastor Felica Scales started the program in 1999 out of the trunk of her car as an after-school program. The first day, she had 3 students attend. The second day, 15. By the end of the month, she had over 100 students attending on a daily basis. Now, she runs the program with a team that ministers to several hundred children throughout our community. These children would otherwise be in gangs, dropping out of school to work or sell drugs, or getting involved in teen pregnancy. All of these things would keep them from coming to the MAX's programs, so by being at the meetings, they make a promise they will be above the issues that have troubled their family and peers. This year is an especially important year because 4 students that were in the program the first year as second graders will be graduating this year and they will all 4 be the first students to EVER graduate highschool in their families. This is a really big deal for our community.

Now that I've kind of explained the program, let me share what we are doing for Christmas. What we do is, any person the age of 0-17 is eligible for the ChristMAX program, but they have to meet certain requirements. If they are school-age, they must be passing all classes and have at least a C average, they must be attending the MAX sessions regularly and they must meet the regular requirements to be at the MAX (aka in school, no drugs or gangs, etc). The first year we did ChristMAX (about 6 years ago) we had 15 people in the program. Now we have well over 300. Plus, we will have an additional 100+ people show up the day of our ChristMAX party and we don't want anyone to go away empty-handed.

Every child that meets the prerequisites, fills out a form and has their picture taken and they go up for "adoption." DH and I always choose a little boy close to Anakin's age so we can double purchase everything since all 2 year olds like the same stuff, right? When you adopt the child, you receive a description of their interests, favorite colors, favorite superheros, etc so you get a good idea of what they like. The program asks that you spend about $50 on each child, according to what they've asked for, but whatever you can give is of course appreciated.

I just want to share one story of the very first ChristMAX I went to. There was a student there named Francisco and he was one of 6 children at the time (now he has 11 siblings). His father was incredibly abusive and would not let any of the children leave the yard or let his mother even leave the house to do shopping. If he caught Francisco coming to the MAX after school, he would receive a horrible beating. Francisco showed up consistently, sneaking out of the house, risking his own welfare to be in the program. When ChristMAX season came around, a family at our church requested a specific age boy so they could supplement their gifts with some clothes from their son who had a growth spurt and missed a whole season of clothes they bought him. At that time, we let students request specific toys (which we don't do anymore) and on Francisco's sheet, he requested a PS2, and the family graciously provided this with a few games and a few outfits. When the gift came in, all of us on the team weren't sure what to do. We ask that you spend $50, this was obviously too much and could cause some issues with the whole program. Felica prayed about it over and over and finally decided that the gift was a gift, and not hers to decide. On the day that the packages are handed out (about a week before Christmas), we allow each child to open one gift. Francisco opened the smallest package in his bag, and it ended up being a PS2 game. He instantly broke into tears and I went to Felica to tell her. Felica looked out into the crowd of 200 people and spotted Francisco right away. He sat at his Christmas bag, heart broken, with tears streaming down his face. When she went to speak with him, he looked up at her and said "Pastor Felica, I can't use this gift." Of course, she instantly dug to the bottom of the bag and let him open the PS2 and he was thrilled with joy. But that is not the wonderful part of the story. When Francisco took the present home, and his father saw what someone who didn't even know him gave him, he stopped beating his children. He stopped controlling his wife. He let all the kids attend the MAX. This single gift, changed the life of a hurt, and hardened man and his family, and his community.

This year, Francisco is a junior in high school and is well on his way to graduating next year. His mom now has her driver's license and is able to do her own shopping. And 7 of Francisco's siblings attend the MAX, the other 4 will be attending as soon as they are school-aged.

I just wanted to share this awesome program I'm involved in with everyone. If you are interested in adopting a child, please let me know, or you can contact Pastor Felica at or visit the website

If you are interested, you can let me know what age and gender you would like and I can email you a picture and form with the child's sizes, interests, etc. We have had a lot of students adopted already but we still have a lot to go. All gifts are due by 11/30, so if you would like to adopt, please let me know right away.

Thanks for taking the time to read this incredibly long post. I just wanted to share this deep passion of mine with you guys. I've had a few people already ask me about it, so I thought maybe more of you might be interested in making an impact in a local child's family this year.

Thanks again,

Saturday, November 8, 2008

OMG I haven't been blogging!!

In honor of NaBloMo, I should be blogging every day. However, I'm a loser.

This is another one of those weeks where things have hit me hard emotionally and so I can't share. But I will talk a little about potty training. I have two words. I quit. Ok, not really but that's how I feel! I won't quit but this process is far too long.

Also, I promised Lisa pictures of Anakin putting yogurt in his hair. My camera froze up and then the battery died, but I will post it tomorrow, promise.

Have a good night!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Parmisan (sp?)

In honor of national bloggers month, this is what we had for dinner. With Asparagus and Corn.

Have a great night everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

History was made today, and what do you have to say about it?

Let me start by saying this: If any of you know me, truley know me, you know I tend to keep my beliefs to myself. I'm honestly not scared of offending anyone, I just don't feel like spending energy talking to someone who's not listening. Most people who have already made up their mind about a character impacting issue such as religion, politics, education, etc. don't want to listen to what you have to say, they only want to listen to why you are wrong. I had the privelage of having good political conversations with a few of my friends in September and spent a lot of time looking over all four candidates (presidents and vice presidents) before making my decision to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket. There were several key issues that weighed heavy on my heart and I voted in favor of those. My mom, for instance is a very strict abortion voter so she votes Republican every time. So be it. What is important to you, has to be the reason you vote. If you haven't done your homework and researched your own issues and searched your own heart, I hope you in turn do what you feel is responsible.

Unfortunately, several of my friends are Republicans that have tainted beliefs about one's politics vs. their character. Both are important when choosing a president. But the number one thing to remember, is that our government is placed according to God's plan. It doesn't matter how you voted, who you supported or what you thought. It is our responsibility to support our president despite our personal beliefs. We must pray for him not because we think he is incapable, but because we know none of us is capable. We should not pray for the fate of our country because we think it is in peril. We must pray for the fate of our country because we are sincerely concerned for the welfare of all americans, any day, and every day. Because whether or not we are at war with another country, we will always be at war with humanity--good vs. evil, wrong vs. right. Decisions can not be made by one leader or one president, it takes everyone. Good decisions are made every presidential term. So are bad ones. I pray with each president, that he is led by God's wisdom and be His spirit. And that the good decisions benefit us better than the bad decisions hurt us.

I'm not concerned about a name. I'm concerned about politics. I'm infuriated that because I'm a Christian, I'm supposed to automatically be republican. I'm infuriated that because I'm registered republican, I'm supposed to vote republican. It's my choice. And so it is your choice as well. I don't care who you voted for. I care that you support your country--OUR COUNTRY. I care that when it all comes down, you stand up and say, I made the decisions that I felt were best for me and my family and I chose to stand by the president my country chose, even if he is not who I personally wanted. Because the election is over, people. You can't change the decision that's been made. You can only change the decision you are making right now. Do you choose to support your country, or stand apart from its leaders? You can not do one without the other.

PS: we're having Chili for dinner. So no recipe today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Let me start by saying I voted! I don't love voting, especially when I am not 100% decisive and I have to make a decision just for the sake of making one. Ah well, so be it. I only had to wait in line for 45 minutes and it was no big deal.

Today's Menu:

Polynesian Chicken


Garlic Powder


Chopped Onion

Golden Mushroom Soup

1 can Pineapple with juice

3 T soy sauce

1 T honey

  1. Season Chicken with garlic
  2. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken until brown
  3. Add onion
  4. Add soup, pineapple with juice, soy and honey
  5. Heat to a boil, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.

We had this with black eyed peas and green beans.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Around a thousand times and back again

Okay maybe not a thousand times, but I'm back at least for a second time of menuing and recipe working. I think we will probably continue to do this if Dennis would really like to continue doing this low carb thing. Meals with pasta and soup are always easy to throw together at the last minute, but making a menu two weeks in advance helps me from several angles. It helps me purchase with intention, eliminating the issue of buying items that are going to sit in my pantry for weeks or months. This really started because when we lost our fridge, we lost all our extra food in the kitchen. I have a little in the pantry, but we are big frozen food people so we lost all of that. The biggest challenge is to find recipes that have low carb, but that don't create redundancy in our meals. I also obviously have the challenge of keeping our budget. If we were eating like slobs, it wouldn't be an issue. But I do want to keep it half healthy.

So, get ready for another round of recipes with Rachael. For the days I'm repeating recipes, I will redirect you and post about something else. Don't forget November is national bloggers month! Try to post everyday!! :D

Today's Menu:
Pork Fried Rice
**Please note this is neither low carb or non-beef/pork as my usual rules are but I am not going grocery shopping until tomorrow and this is what I have in the house!!

Pork (cubed)
Minced garlic
3 eggs scrambled
3 cups cooked rice
Mixed veggies
fish sauce (optional)
soy sauce

  1. Heat EVOO in large skillet or pot and brown cubed pork with minced garlice
  2. While Pork is cooking, push meat to one side and begin cooking scrambled eggs.
  3. Once both eggs and pork are cooked, add rice and soy sauce. Here you may also add sesame seeds if you prefer. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well.
  4. Add veggies. I use the generic peas, carrots and green beans from frozen. I thaw them for awhile, but don't cook them first because I like them crisp. It's all about personal preference. You can add water chestnuts, mushrooms, or brocolli to name a few of my favs!
  5. Stir well and allow items to warm for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until all items are soft and warm.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I just wanted to let all my friends that I've become addicted to this blog. I will be making this very soon!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Last night we went to a halloween party. Let me be specific here, we went to THE halloween party in Atlanta at literally the last club still open and even at that it's only open for special occasions like a huge halloween party. Some things of note:
  1. I thought I was getting too old for these things. I'm not. There were lots and lots of older people there and I was sad for them.
  2. I knew I was a light weight but my second (and last) drink knocked me off my feet. So either it was drugged (which seems unlikely since I saw it transfer from the bartenders hand to my hand to my mouth in one fail swoop) or she didn't measure the alcohol when making it and probably gave me 2-3 shots worth when really I was satisfied with only one.
  3. There is no way to properly communicate when inebriated. Even when I muster up the remaining brain power to form a complete sentence, no one takes me seriously. I was trying to give someone directions and they just looked at me like I was stupid. But I still remember what I said, and I gave him the right directions.
  4. When it comes down to it, you find out who your real friends are.
Let me get out of the bullets to elaborate on number 4 because this is really important to me. We went to this club last night with two friends, Jeremy and his brother, Chad. Jeremy and Dennis have been friends since he moved to Snellville back in 1989 so we're talking almost 20 years here. Jeremy was one of those friends that you went up through school with. He lived down the street so they rode the bus together and stayed friends even while Dennis moved to KY and then when he came back to Atlanta to go to school, Jeremy was his room mate for a year. Well when Dennis and I got married, Jeremy and Dennis had a huge falling out. This happens often when people get married, but this particular one was severe. Jeremy made a few comments to Dennis about me being his ball-and-chain and stuff like that and Dennis cut him off. So about a year or two ago, after what really only seemed like an issue with schedules and life and nothing personal, Dennis ran into him in the city and they started talking again. He had become one of those friends that you like the idea of. As in, I know there is cool somewhere down there so I will continue talking to you but every time I do, I'm reminded why we're not really friends anymore. In adulthood we all often become something different than what we thought we'd be. Sometimes we grow so much, we are better than we'd intended. And sometimes, not so much.

Anyway, Dennis invited Jeremy and Chad to go with us because these were two guys that could use a night out. By about 2am, Jeremy and Chad had found two sisters. As I recall, they were pretty good looking but it was dark and I was drunk so who knows. By 3am, the girls were ready to go home and Jeremy and Chad, who had not had much to drink, were more than obliged to take them as they were in no condition to drive. The guys walked them out to the car, and this is the part that is awesome. With the prospect that they were going to go back to Jeremy's place (which was very close to the club), Jeremy left the girls and came back to get us. Dennis and I had separated from them earlier in the night to let them be with these girls and Jeremy came back into the club to make sure we could drive before he left. Since we could not, he let the girls go and drove Dennis and I around until Dennis was ready to get behind the wheel. The awesome thing here is that Jeremy honestly let that go fo rus. We didn't ask him to. We certainly could have sobered up either there at the club or in our car, but he didn't want Dennis to think he was ready and not have a third party make sure he was. Now, let me go off here a little and say that Dennis would never ever put either of us, or anyone else in danger. And I believe he would wait long after he felt ready before he would ever drive. He is a very concious drinker and had been careful to stop in time to sober up. That being said, it was still incredibly respectful of Jeremy to keep an eye on him until he felt like Dennis was ready, too. It was honestly a really awesome thing for him to have done and I am eternally grateful that he took that time to be sure of our safety. Had we needed to spend the night at his loft, I know he would not have hesitated to let us have a key or drive us over there himself.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stop blog mooching!

Bloggers like comments. They make us happy! They let us know you are reading and appreciating our efforts. So all of you blog moochers out there, stop reading without commenting!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

halloween costumes

Anakin will be going as a Jedi (aka himself)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The weekend in review

I am a little reluctant to post my true feelings of how this weekend went. As a whole, it was awesome. There was a great move of the spirit at the retreat and many women were phenomenally moved and impressed upon. More than anything, these women came to a better realization of God's intention in creating each of them individually. The series was a lot about who we are in Christ, that we are uniquely designed and that God has great intentions for us. We talked a lot about the scripture "God knew you before he made you" and what that really means, not just that he knew you, but that he knew all your ways and all your goings and therefor placed you in this life, at this time, with these purposes. All of that was awesome.

I did struggle a lot with the other musician. We did well when we practiced on Thursday, but when we got up there, it just kind of fell apart. I don't know. She is not the kind of piano player you can lean on. I wish I had known that. In practice, I leaned on her for a few songs and she did fine, but when we got up there, she couldn't keep tempo, she played wrong notes. I give up. I was really frustrated and wanted Beba (the director) to let me choose my own team but I didn't want to say no to a willing spirit, you know? Oh well. If she asks me to lead again next year, I want to choose my own team and I will put my foot down about it. Also, the other musician had asked if I would play with her again in future and I now know my answer will be no for that. I just don't think I can work with her again. We are two different kinds of musicians and we just didn't work well together.

So, overall, the weekend went well. But it was a learning experience and now I know a lot more about working with a music team that I am in charge of instead of following other people--which is what I have don ein the past.

On a side note, Dennis and I are going to a big halloween party on Friday (after trick-or-treating) that's adults only. I picked out my costume earlier this week, I will be going as a sexy school girl. So today we went to party city to get Dennis's and we got him the priest outfit to match. Awesome. I will definitely take pictures of that!

Friday, October 24, 2008

  1. Finish the purses. Wait I forgot to mention that so that's not a recap. I made a few purses a while back and we have an auction at the retreat to raise money for the benevolance fund and so I said they could have my purses but honestly forgot there was so much work left to do on them!!
  2. Type out music details for team including schedule, keys, arrangements and notes
  3. Actually practice with the other vocalist (??!!)
  4. Get all the songs into powerpoint (this is the one I'm worried about)
  5. Get packed
  6. Find 90s stuff for some lame-o table I have to do. Like I have 90s stuff??! What defines 90s stuff?!
Okay lets do a checkoff.
#1: done. And actually, they look better than I anticipated. I'm sorry to see one of them go. I may end up bidding on it!
#2: done.
#3:will happen tonight. no big deal.
#4:done. and I'm very proud of myself here.
#5:about to do....
#6:I decided on a book of CDs that we have actually already burned over to MP3s so whatever.

OKay, I've made a lot of progress here. Who's proud of me?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

busy busy days gone by and many more ahead

So my life has been a lot more hectic with Dean around. Not that Dean has been making it hectic, because I really don't think he has, but my life just feels crazy right now. Last weekend we went to Summerville, SC to see Desi and Darren and the baby. I finished my quilt FINALLY, and we had a pretty good weekend. I knew this weekend would be rough with the Women's Retreat coming up but I have to say, it feels like more than I bargained for. I'm not complaining, there are so many other women doing so much more than me, but gosh am I tired!! I will be working with only one other musician (who is a semi-vocalist as well) and one other vocalist. Since the other musician and I obviously have the most work to do, it seemed right that she and I meet together first. Well she couldn't get together until Tuesday because she was singing at Emmaeus last weekend and wasn't worth anybody's time on Monday. So Tuesday night I went over to her GINORMOUS house (seriously... I was scared to touch the furniture) and we practiced for about 2 hours. Mostly that was just getting a basic roughdraft of the song list ready and talking about what keys we wanted to do it in. Wednesday night, we had a meeting with Beba, the director, at 6 and that was the presentation of the agenda so we could get the order of our songlist ready. Off on a little tangeant here, for those of you not usually involved in these types of things, it is not okay to give the music director of a retreat that starts on Friday, the agenda for the weekend on Wendesday. Seriously. Two days? Not cool. So anyway, as Karen would say, I digress. Today, I went to Chick-fil-a with a few other moms for a playdate and took along my newly received agenda, songlist, and music book and sat down while we chit chatted with coffee and chicken nuggets and made out a preliminary arrangement of the songs before Karen (different Karen) and I were scheduled to meet at 1 at the church. The practice went till 4, which is honestly not so bad. I had Anakin with me but he was great thanks to my awesome phone that not only has a TV on it, but has free episodes of Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to boot! We only had a few changes, including keys, my arrangement/order of songs, and the lyrics and we ended up scratching a few songs all together.

Now I am back from practice, thank you, Lord (I'm honestly Thanking God here) that Anakin wanted to take a nap when we got home, and now I am resting before continuing my work. See, since the retreat starts tomorrow, I really need to have everything done today. So I need to write out the agenda and email it to the two girls I'm working with, and I need to put everything on powerpoint. Again, I'm not complaining that the powerpoint ended up being my responsibility but why didn't anyone tell me?? Lame. So. Lame. Not to mention I still need to pack. Of course, that can be done tomorrow.

No worries here, I'm not in the least bit stressed. Of course that's because I have absolutely no energy left to BE stressed. Seriously. I told Dennis I look like a corpse with fingers that have a life of their own. Two little "things" disembodied at the end of each arm. Dennis is wonderful and offerend to bring home dinner. Which is good since we have no food in the house. He also said not to worry about grocery shopping, that he would make do until Monday. I immediately requested something incredibly unhealthy. With a side of mashed potatos and green beans please. Don't forget the biscuit. For all that is holy, don't forget the biscuit!!

Let's recap. Things left for Rachael to do:
  1. Finish the purses. Wait I forgot to mention that so that's not a recap. I made a few purses a while back and we have an auction at the retreat to raise money for the benevolance fund and so I said they could have my purses but honestly forgot there was so much work left to do on them!!
  2. Type out music details for team including schedule, keys, arrangements and notes
  3. Actually practice with the other vocalist (??!!)
  4. Get all the songs into powerpoint (this is the one I'm worried about)
  5. Get packed
  6. Find 90s stuff for some lame-o table I have to do. Like I have 90s stuff??! What defines 90s stuff?!
I think that's it. It doesn't look so bad when its on paper. Dennis always tells me to make lists so that I can sort things out in my head. It makes stressful situations easier to deal with. I just have to keep taking deep breaths and just work through this one thing at a time. What will be will be. I have no control over what happens outside of what I can do and how I react to things so that's what I have to focus on.

I'm going to ask Dennis if I can take the camera so hopefully I can post some pics on Monday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekend in SC

I realize I am incredibly behind on my recipe blogging, and that's a shame because I made two really good meals that I have yet to post. I will get to them when I get back next week.

I made a mad dash to finish the quilt for Raileigh, my friend Desi's new baby and though I can hardly believe it myself, I finished it just in time. I literally sewed the binding on less than an hour before we left to make the 5 hour trip up here. Now we are here, and of course, Desi loved it. She even shed a few tears! :) So, here are a few pictures to hold you over.

Here are also a few pictures of us with the baby.

Monday, October 13, 2008

day 8

I realize Day 6 and 7 were non existent, but nonetheless, we are on day 8.

Today's Menu
Cashew Broccoli Chicken
* * * * *

1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed (I use 1/2 a lb for the 2 of us)
1 bushel fresh broccoli or one bag frozen
1-2 stalks celery (per your preference--if you like celery you can use more)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
1 T Honey
2 T Soy Sauce
1 dash red pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced

1. Mix broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey and red pepper for sauce and set aside. It will not be a smooth mix, don't worry about it. It won't matter, but you want to let it sit so the acid works into the peanut butter.
2. Heat oil in pan and cook chicken and garlic until chicken is no longer pink. Set meat aside and keep warm
3. In same pan, heat some more oil and cook broccoli and celery 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Return chicken to pan and add sauce. Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

The recipe also calls for two packs of cooked ramen noodles (without the seasoning) to serve with the chicken, which we will skip since we are doing no pasta. When you serve it, you are supposed to sprinkle it with cashews, but I just sprinkle it with regular peanuts. Also, I use water instead of broth because I don't use enough broth to keep it in the house. This is one of our favorite recipes and it is super easy to make. The combination sounds weird, but tastes wonderful.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Good news

So my shoulder is feeling a bit better. Not a lot better but the pain is tolerable today. I really need to go to a doctor. I'm so anti-doctor. I'm scared he will say I need surgery and I really don't want to do that.

Anyway, I'm sorry I don't have a recipe today. Dennis was such a sweetie and took me out to eat today so I didn't have to cook. (my honey is the best!) but what I was going to make today was a boring mushroom porkchop recipe anyway. Nothing exciting.

We had a little regression today with potty training but its no big deal. We bought Anakin this today as a treat if he does well potty training. We are going to have a little chart for him to fill up with stickers and I will put the toy on top of the fridge so he has a visual aid to do well with potty training. This was advice from another mommy-friend of mine and at this point, I am taking everyone's advice. I was thinking today, that this actually wasn't that painful (considering.) I mean, all in all, it could have been a lot worse. And even though I know we will have some set backs in the coming months, he is definitely potty-trained and that means I did it in about 3 weeks and I say thats pretty darn impressive. I hear moms who have been potty training for like a year and are still having problems with it. While I recognize that it all depends on the kid, I'm just thankful everyday that I have such an easy kid and that God blessed us with someone that fit us so well. He is such a goofball, and such a love bug, and an allround really fun kid to be around and I'm so thankful God has blessed us so immensley. And let me just add, that I can't believe this thankfulness has been brought on by the practice of peeing and pooping. haha

Tomorrow's menu is Cashew Brocolli Chicken which is a pampered chef recipe I got from a friend. I don't use cashews because they are too expensive so I need to think of a new name for it. But it is DELISH!

PS, Machelle, I do want the number to your Orthopedist.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

why am I up so late?

It is clearly too far into the wee hours for me to still be awake and yet... here I am. Taking a break from my SVU marathon on USA to poke around this great big world called interweb while Dennis is out getting me cookies. Why is dennis getting you cookies? This seems like an odd request for a perfectly normal-non-pregnant woman. (I'm not pregnant, promise) Well you see, with a pain so intense that it's creeping up my neck and right into my migraine prone head, comes a wicked case of nausea. And so I am not wanting to eat anything. Or drink anything. Or think about eating anything or drinking anything. But Dennis knows, no matter what, I will eat cookies. And a few cookies and a tall glass of milk is just enough substance to stabalize some ibuprofin in my (at the moment) incredibly unstable tummy.

So, about how the pain started. Dennis and I took a trip to Hilton Head at the end of June and while we were there, we decided to throw a football around. Well that day, it just happened to be really windy. So I ended up throwing the ball really hard--apparently too hard. I must have torn something because the front of my shoulder has been hurting ever since. I gave it about a month to heal, being careful not to use it too much and I took the liberty of making a few visits to a massage therapist to help work out the tension. It felt better for a little while but every day it just got a little worse and a little worse... Until yesterday when this sharp shooting pain started making its way up my shoulder into my neck. I thought it was a crick in my neck, but those go away and this definitely has NOT subsided. It feels better in the morning, and worse at night. Right now the pain is so bad, I can't even sleep (ergo dennis's late night trip to Kroger). So, should it subside tomorrow, all is well and I will schedule an appointment with a physical tharapist whenever (which means when this happens again.) Should it not subside, Monday morning, I will call my doctor, demand a reference to a PT and march my way into the PT's office and demand to be seen with my life-threatening injury. Ok. Maybe I won't be that dramatic. But considering how dramatic this pain is at the moment, I just may be.

OKay I am done rambling, I have to get off. Though no position aleviates the pain, sitting here typing is second only to playing video games (See what I mean about it being life threatening??!!) so I will ammuse you again tomorrow. Until then, my faithful blog-stalkers, I bid you happy evenings and good morrows!

ps i have no recipe for today, Dennis and I took a much needed break. I will give you one tomorrow... promise. ;)

Friday, October 10, 2008

day five

I am pre-writing my recipe for today because I already know it's awesome. We are having homemade chili. This is the recipe that my friend Crystal gave me and there is no secret. One pound beef (we use turkey of course), 2 cans tomatoes, one can red beans, one can black beans and one packet chili seasoning. Brown the meat, put everything in the crock pot and cook it on high for 4 hours or low for 8. Delish!

Now, let me talk about a few other things of note. Today, I took Anakin to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Stop laughing at me. Ok seriously. Stop laughing. Anyway, the movie was not good. It was interminably long but I have to be honest, the story was... ok. Not that bad. But not good either. For a kids movie, it was ok but had way too much dialogue and not enough action in it. It was a lot like Milo and Otis from when I was a kid and I hated that movie.

But, on a positive note, I took Anakin in big boy pants, and he did great! He told me he had to potty when he needed to, and he totally went on the big potty! I'm so happy! Also, yesterday, he went twice with big boy pants on by himself! He pulled, them down, went potty and then pulled them back up before he ever even told me he had to go. This is awesome! This is huge progress! The trick was, I bought him some Thomas and Spider Man underwear. Now, on my mom's behalf, she told me to do this all along. My issue was that they are too big. Sesame Street was the only brand I could find in 18 months (even though my kid is 2 and a half!) but I figured, pants that are too big that make him go are better than me cleaning pee off my carpet! So, it worked!

Anyway, thats whats going on in this journey somewhat familiar! See you guys tomorrow!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

day four

Three posts in one day?? What is this world coming to?? IT'S INSANITY!!!

Today's Menu
Polynesian Pork
with Blackeye Peas
and Green Beans
* * * *
1 lb Pork chops
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can pineapple chunks
1 medium sized onion minced
1 T honey
3 T soy sauce
garlic powder

1. Heat oil in medium-high skillet and season pork chops with garlic
2. Cook porkchops in skillet until golden brown on both sides.
3. Add onions and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until onions are soft. (you could add minced garlic cloves here too if you like garlic that much)
4. Add soup, pineapple(with juice), honey and soy sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

We honestly would have given this 5 stars if it had been chicken. It was soooo good but we never eat porkchops. I made it with pork because I thought we would need a break from chicken, but to be honest, we ended up just wanting it to be chicken. We did, however, have bush's blackeyed peas and let me just say they were DELICIOUS. Seriously, I don't even like blackeyed pease but those were sooooo good. Anyway, if you like pork, this could be a new favorite in your home. If you are like us, throw a few hearty chicken breasts on the skillet instead.

day three.

Let me first apologize that this is late. I have been running a fever for a few days and have not been up for blogging.

Today's Menu
Kielbasa and Veggies
* * * * *

1 pk Kielbasa
1 zuchinni
1 squash
1/2-1 bundle asparagus
minced onion
ground pepper
ground oregano

Slice Kielbasa and veggies and mix in shallow baking dish. Drizzle or brush with EVOO and sprinkle with onion, oregano, and black pepper. Back at 400 for 45 minutes or until veggies are brown around the edges.

This is one of our favorites, and super easy to make.

I'm a bad mother

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

carbless chapter day 2

Everyone be proud of me for drinking lots of water and giving up my sweet tea. *waits patiently for applause* thank you.

Now that that's out of the way...
Today's Menu
Skewer Chicken Spirals
and Corn on the Cob
* * * * (out of 5)

Skinless, boneless chicken breast (one per person)
Bacon (we use turkey bacon)
1 small can tomato paste
Basil leaves (I used minced)
Garlic Powder
EVOO for brushing

Lay chicken breasts out on saran wrap and cover. Beat lightly with rolling pin to flatten. (I use wax paper because it's less messy)
Once all chicken is flatten, lay out and form a layer over rough side of chicken with tomato paste. I use a spoon to spread it on like cream cheese. Sprinkle with garlic then lay bacon on top of chicken. I use 1-2 slices per piece of chicken. You want the bacon to totally cover the chicken with no overlapping and no excess, so you may need to cut some.
Sprinkle basil leaves on top of bacon.
<--This is what it should look like right before you start to roll it.

Rolling is not easy. You want it to be firm so you get as much chicken "in" the spiral as possible but the tomato paste doesn't squish out form the sides.

Use a sharp knife (as sharp as you can find) to slice each breast into 4 slices. Again, try not to saw the chicken or the paste will come out of the sides. A sharp knife should cut right into the flesh of the chicken. Don't be afraid to make a mess... you will.

Place each spiral on a kabob skewer, one skewer per breast, so 4 pieces per skewer. Brush with olive oil and place under high heat of a broiler or grill for 5-7 minutes on each side, brushing with olive oil again at each turn.

As a side note, I like mine a little blackened. The picture here (which is not mine) also shows the edges of the bacon burnt which just adds a really good flavor. If you can grill these, that is the best way to do it because the smokey flavor is great. We serve them with corn on the cob because the sweetness of the corn offsets the sour in the tomato paste.

All in all we gave this a 4 out of 5 because it is just delicious but it is a pain in the butt! You make an absolute mess when slicing them. I used a sheet of wax paper for each skewer because the tomato gets everywhere and I didn't want to have to clean it every time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

a carbless chapter in my life

Dennis has been doing great with his dieting. He's lost 13 pounds in 5 weeks (awesome!) by working out and watching what he eats. For the record, in those same 5 weeks, I've lost 2. So lame. So to kind of kick-start us back into losing weight, we are doing two weeks of no carbs and no sugars. We did this a year ago for 21 days and I lost 8 pounds! Certainly I gained it back because I stopped caring about what I was eating, but the idea this time is to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle with less carbs but not none at all. Anyway, to prepare for this I made a 2 week menu and my budget was $200. I made the menu including sides and all and I only spent $176 at walmart and that included lunch items for the boys. So, everyday, for the next two weeks, I would like to post what I made, how I made it and how we liked it.

Today's Menu
Healthy Request Chicken Parmesian
"Grilled" veggies
**** (out of 5)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (one per person)
One can of Tomato Soup
Oregano to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Shredded Mozarella cheese
1 zuchinni
1 squash
minced onion
ground black pepper

1. Mix soup, oregano (I used about 3 shakes), garlic powder (maybe 1 T) and spoon over chicken in shallow bakind dish.
2. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
3. Top with mozzarella cheese

For Veggies:
Slice zuchinni and squash and place in shallow baking dish. Spread pieces evenly and drizzle with EVOO. Sprinkle with minced onion and black pepper. Bake same time as chicken or until veggies are light brown on edges.

Seriously, that's it. It took me about 5 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to bake. We gave this 4 out of 5 stars. The chicken was super moist, had plenty of flavor and the veggies were oh so delicious. For extra kick, you can add oregano to the veggies or use asparagus as well. You can also use potatoes, but if you do, they have to be cooked longer

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm sure you missed me

Sorry I have not been up for blogging lately. To be perfectly honest, I find blogging a little difficult but incredibly necessary for my personal sanity. It's difficult because although most of those who read this know I am outgoing, I keep most of my personal feelings and thoughts to myself. I'm one of those people that is hard to break past the shell. So when I've had a week (or two) that have effected me personally, I tend to close myself in and retreat to my own musings. Although I'm not really ready to come out of my current emotional hibernation, I don't want my seven loyal readers to lose interest in my stories, so I will grace you with a few updates from the past two weeks.

potty training - my mom says it's going well and considering her level of experience, I have to take her word for it. But I'm honestly ready to quit. Don't worry, no need to lecture. I will remain steadfast and my efforts will surely prevail but I feel like if I clean pee off the carpet 30 seconds after I took Anakin to go potty one more time, I might surely perish. I will sop the waste from my berber and just cease to exist. Dramatic? Maybe. You come do it for awhile and then we can talk drama.

quilting - My 9 square quilt is almost done. This is good considering I need to deliver it to the recipient in less than two weeks and I haven't even started on the hand stitching yet! Did I mention I have no idea what I am doing?! I did make my way up to the fabric/craft extravaganza that is Hobby Lobby and get myself one of those big hoop thingies (I'm sure they have a real name) for $5 so I can begin the tedious part. I will embroider the 'R' in the middle square tomorrow and then work on the first part of sewing the top to bottom (which I'm doing with a machine stitch first before beginning my hand-work). I will post pictures as soon as Dennis manages to get the battery charger for our camera back from the friend's house where he left it.

"work" - oh the leisurely life of a stay at home mom. I miss it so. I started keeping another little boy this week. It was last minute. Be assured, all my faithful friends, that I have not kept this oh so pertinent information from you. A friend of mine approached me the week before she had to start school full time because the day care on campus had run out of spots for her age group. It's honestly going really well. Dean is 20 months old, so he is honestly pretty far behind Anakin developmentally but he is getting there and he is certainly at an age now where I can at least do lesson plans with them. The hardest part is that he has not been raised as strictly as Anakin, so I am having to establish boundaries all over again. It has nothing to do with his parents not being great at what they do, it's just a different parenting style. Since I have both boys together, I have to be consistent. Since I have to be consistent, I'm obviously going to use the more strict method for both of them. He will learn his boundaries soon. All in all, it's been great to have them together because 90% of the time, they just entertain each other with little need for me. They make a mess of Anakin's room, playing with this foldable basketball hoop my mom got him and a pop-up tent he got for Christmas last year, and when we go downstairs, cars are scattered throughout endless boundaries of the house, but it can all be cleaned up while they are napping and so it's no big deal.

other happenings in my life - I took Anakin to the zoo on Friday with Courtney, my room mate from college. It was nice to see her again. Afterward, we went to this hole in the wall restaurant that served random food, ie tacos, burgers, salads and whatnot and I had a scrumptious veggie burrito with mozerella cheese. It was a little spicy but had super fresh spinach in it and I enjoyed it immensely. My mom also came to see us this weekend. We went to the Kani House for dinner on Friday and then went to the mall and she bought me a few super cute outfits on clearance at Old Navy. On Saturday we went and had our nails done, got massages, and ate at My Friend's Place (thats the name of it, I swear) and then took a fun trip to Sam's Club. Saturday night, we did a Mary Kay party for my friend Crystal and I won a watch and $50 worth of product (rock on!)

So I leave you with the four movies I've seen recently and how I rated them (out of 4 stars).
  • The Women - * - Starring Meg Ryan (playing Meg Ryan), Annette Benning, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Debra Messing. Also featuring other famous women that are in it only for the sake of saying they were part of something that could have been a lot better than it was. The storyline was interesting enough but the character development was lacking and the direction SUCKED. Honestly, I appreciate that there were no men in the movie, even extras, but given that fact, maybe a 15 second scene of walking down a crowded new york street shouldn't be included. Can you really expect people to believe at any given time there are no men walking on this strip of road? We were hoping for something like First Wives Club--you know something that made you feel good about being a woman and getting revenge on the men that hurt us. But really, it just sucked.
  • Burn After Reading - *** - Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. This movie was HILARIOUS! It only receives 3 stars out of 4 given the fact that the storyline was incredibly unbelievable and the characters were unrealistic--but that was absolutely the point. It was pretty graphic ( I didn't know there was violence in it before hand) but it's not bad. Just be warned, it's rated R for graphic violence and language and it certainly had both. If you are not one for abstract dark comedies, wait for video but it's definitely worth seeing.
  • Blindness - - Starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. I didn't leave the section where I put the stars blank on accident. Seriously. Don't see this. Don't think about seeing this. If friends of yours reccomend this, think about it like that time you were in middle school and a friend offered you drugs or cigaretts for the first time. What would your mother tell you to do? To walk away. That if anyone of your friends offered you drugs, they weren't really your friend in the first place. Yeah. This is just like that. We left and got our money back. It was that bad.
  • Eagle Eye - *** - Starring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson. What? Don't recognize any of those names except Shia LaBeouf? Me neither. But this movie was super sweet. The only reason it gets 3 out of 4 stars instead of 4 is because the end-secret plot twist has been done before. Have no fear, the action, character development and overall awesomeness totally made up for the lack of inginuity in story line "twist." Seriously. I loved this. If you just want to see a feel-good shoot em up, this is it. It was a lot of fun and totally worth my $10 and once in a bluemoon child free night.
That's it for now my faithful blog followers! Have a good night! May the morning find you well rested and ready for the exciting experience that is a new day.