~my thoughts about life~

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wow, I'm Dumb!

"Wow, I'm dumb!" is a phrase Hubby uses a lot around the house.  It refers to doing something totally stupid and almost being too embarrassed to talk about it.  But you're eventually willing to reveal your stupidity in order to get a laugh.  He thinks I should start a new blog called Wow, I'm Dumb!  I told him that I hope to not have enough material to fill an entire blog.  But I would make it a regular feature on this blog, if need be.

One of my worst Wow, I'm dumb moments was when I was walking down the stairs scanning the telephone's Caller ID list.  I missed the bottom step, crashed to the floor, and sprained my ankle.  (Good thing I don't text and drive!)  Had I not been in so much pain, I would have called out, "Wow, I'm dumb!" 

My favorite Wow, I'm dumb moment of Hubby's was when I caught him putting away a gallon of milk in the cupboard.  The day before, I woke up in the morning to find a gallon of milk in the cupboard.  I accused the kids of being careless and was so angry that they wasted half a gallon of milk.  (It was warm from having been out all night long.)  Hubby was furious.  Then a day later, I watched him as he did it.  I stopped him and said, "What did you just do?"  He turned and looked, then called out, "Wow, I'm dumb!"  I made him apologize to the kids for getting them in trouble.

When I tried to think of more stories, my mind drew a blank.  It seems like there are so many of them, but I guess we try to block them from our minds.  So I called Hubby at work to see what he had to contribute.  He thought for a few minutes and then started laughing out loud.  "The bike story!" he said.  Oh yes, the bike story!

There's a beautiful state park a couple hours from our house.  A large group of people from our church would all rent cabins the same week.  We would golf, fish, shop, hike, and boat together.  Hubby and I were taking a walk down the road when we stopped to talk to some friends.  They invited us to go on a bike ride with them.  Hubby volunteered to walk back to our cabin to get our bikes while I stayed to chat.  A few minutes later, here he came, flying down the hill.  He was riding one bike and holding the handlebar of the second bike.  He remembers being halfway down the big hill and thinking to himself How in the world am I going to stop the second bike?  3/4 of the way down the hill, he decided he could not.  Two bikes and Hubby all went flying through the air and made a spectacular crash in front of a dozen of our friends.  I don't know what was more hurt that day - his body or his ego.  But when the pain wore off, he was able to laugh at himself.  It actually was quite funny once I realized there were no broken bones.  So the moral of the story is, don't try to ride two bikes down a hill at once.

I wish you all a dumb-free day!  But if you wish to share your own Wow, I'm dumb stories, I will be happy to read them!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today's Randomness

Look what is in my cupboard.

My evil sweet Hubby bought them for me at a recent Wal-Mart outing because he knows they're my most favorite thing in all the world.  But y'all know just like he knows....I'M ON A DIET!  Why would he do that to me?  As I type this, they are calling my name.  I don't know what to do.  Should I throw them in the trash?  Mail them to one of you?  (I don't care how fat all of you get!)  Give in to temptation???  I'm trying to save them for vacation, when I will allow myself a few sweet rewards.  Besides, what is vacation when you're dieting anyway?


There is a funky smell in my garage and I'm scared out of my wits that it's a dead mouse!  We've never had a mouse before and I'm paranoid.  Worse than that, do you remember this from the other day?

What if it's in there?  I think I would rather throw the entire bag away then to sort through it and find a dead mouse.  (No, my kids haven't earned all their stuff back yet.  Son #1 had to do one good deed to earn back his Boy Scout uniform for last night's meeting.  So the bag is mostly still full.  Let's hope it's mouse-less.) 


My daughter is crazy.  This is a baby doll carrier/car seat. 

She fastened herself in and couldn't get out.  There go our hopes for Harvard.  Hello Clown College.  (I don't know why she doesn't have pants on.  But check out those skinny legs!!!)


I don't know if I can make it 'til vacation without exploding.  Seriously, I think I might!  Right now, it is 30 degrees warmer there than it is here.  I just hope it's warm enough that I can bury my toes in the sand while reading a good book and watching the kids play.  Heaven!

Baby Girl, 2  years ago at the beach

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Drill Sergeant Mom

I am sick and tired of being taken advantage of by my children!  I am their personal chef, maid, tutor, referee, chauffeur, and so many more things.  And yes, I know I just defined the word Mother perfectly.  Normally, I am more than happy to be all of those things for my children.  I did sign up for this job.  I did agree to having four of them.  But when my many jobs go unnoticed and are unappreciated, that's when I start to reveal the wrath.  And when my requests are met with sarcasm and unpleasant words, that's when the wrath comes forth with all its fury!  And this probably the worst offender:
When I ask one of my children to pick up a toy, the last thing I expect to hear is, "NO!"  But that's what I've been hearing lately.  (It's from the one pictured above.)  Even though her three older siblings aren't answering me with the word "no," it's what they mean.  It might come forth as a sigh, the word "what?" or the word "why?"  Oh, those things make my blood boil!  With all my might, I've tried to avoid my mother's phrase Because I said so!  But that's what I've turned into.

I do run a tight ship around here.  I have a list of rules I've set forth and I expect for them to be followed.  I don't think that's unreasonable.  When the kids get home from school, they are supposed to put away their backpacks, lunch boxes, and any outerwear.  This never gets done without my nagging.  Never.  So yesterday, I picked up all their backpacks and coats and put them in a box in the garage.  No one noticed.  When it came time for school this morning, I heard, "Hey mom, do you know where my backpack is?" 

Another rule of mine is that my children are supposed to keep their rooms clean and do one chore a day.  The chore varies, depending on what needs done around the house.  They actually do a pretty descent job with their chores.  But when it comes to their bedrooms....oh my!  Last night, I got so sick of how messy the boys' room was.  When I told #1 to clean up his things, he said everything in the room belonged to #2.  When I asked #2 if he cleaned up his room, he said everything left belonged to #1.  So, I did what any normal crazy mom would do.  I got a trash bag and filled it up with everything on the floor, beds, and dressers that didn't seem to belong to anyone.  Wow, that sure got their attention! 
"No!  Not that!  I was just getting ready to put that away!" 
"Oh really?  Well, I asked you a half hour ago to put it away."
"Pleeeeeease, Mom!"
"Nope.  You had your chance."
"Are you serious?"
"Do I look like I'm playing?"

I loaded up the bag and stashed it in the garage.  The room looked clean after that!  I may allow them to earn back the things in the bag.  It depends on my level of craziness.  So maybe if their typically sweet and caring mother turns into a raging lunatic from time to time, they'll learn to take some responsibility.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done to try to get your kids to follow the rules?  Or do you all have perfect little angels who do no wrong?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Crazy Lady Laughing

Tell me if this ever happens to you.

You're sitting at the doctor's office, or in a meeting, or just driving in your car when a funny memory pops into your head.  You begin laughing out loud, like a crazy person.  This happens to me all the time!  Usually, the person nearest me will give me a strange look and say, "What?"  They totally don't get why I'm sitting there laughing my head off.  This seems to happen most often to me when I'm in church.  And when it does, I can't seem to get control of myself for quite some time.  I sit there with my head down, stifling my laughter, while my shoulders bob up and down for several minutes.  Eventually, my mom will poke me in the back and tell me to settle down.  Yes, I still get yelled at by my mom.

Today, I was washing dishes when I started laughing out loud.  I remembered the first time Son #2 went to play laser tag.  Hubby took the boys up to register their code names and get their equipment.  The other kids at the facility chose names like Viper, Blaze, Destroyer...you know, those typical American Gladiator names.  When the guy asked my son what he wanted his name to be, his reply was "Golf."  Not Cobra, Scar, or even Pit BullGolf.  At the time, it struck us as so funny and has remained a family joke ever since.  The employee shrugged and said, "Alright."  So when I remember how tickled we got, I still laugh out loud.  No, I'm not crazy, just easily amused. 

What makes you laugh out of the blue?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Still Going Strong...

Not that anyone really cares, but I'm still doing well on my diet.  I've officially taken off 11 lbs. in less than 5 weeks!  I'm thrilled with that result!  I went back and read my first post about dieting and it was actually encouraging.  In that post, I talked about how hungry I was all the time.  That is the biggest change I've noticed so far.  I can easily get from breakfast to lunch with no snack.  Before, that was incredibly difficult.  I am still having a small snack around 3:30 every day.  Lately, it's been a low-fat oatmeal raisin granola bar.  Here are the rules I originally set...let's see how many I'm sticking to:

1.  Stop eating like a crazy woman! Check!

2.  Breakfast will consist of cereal with skim milk. Check!

3.  No snacks between breakfast and lunch. Check!

4.  Lunch will consist of something low fat. (Last time, I did turkey sandwiches with no cheese or condiments. This time I might go for low-fat vegetable soup. I like it and it sounds good to me right now. When I get sick of that, I might give the turkey sandwiches a try again.) No chips with lunch, no dessert after lunch. Check!  The veggie soup lasted a while but I'm on turkey right now.  I usually have a piece of fruit with the sandwich, still no chips.  Although, this past week I've had a tiny piece of chocolate a couple times for dessert.  Hey, I was proud of myself and needed a little reward!

5.  One reasonable snack between lunch and dinner. (Snacks are my worst problem. I'm home all day so I tend to munch throughout the day. I get a serious tummy rumbly when I don't snack between meals. But this needs to stop!) Check!  I'm really proud of myself for sticking to this one!  I have also resisted the before-bedtime snack too!

6.  Dinner will be normal. I just need to have portion control. Check!  Although I did go a little crazy with the garlic bread last night.  It was so yummy!

7.  I have to cut out fattening things like mayonnaise, cheese, pepperoni, chocolate...all the good stuff. Check!

8.  Desserts are a no-no. (I'm starting to cry now.) Um, kinda Check.  I've only started allowing tiny desserts the past week.  So far it hasn't seemed to affect me negatively.

9.  Water gets hit big time. Only one glass of tea at meals is allowed. Check!  I've started drinking my tea with Splenda only.  And not very much of it.

10.  Start running again as soon as the weather breaks. (I think that was a big contributing factor. All summer and into the fall, I ran a lot. Then winter arrived and I became sedentary. I'm training for another marathon so I will have to start running again. That will definitely help!) Negative.  I haven't started yet.  The weather was beautiful last week but winter has come back.  Also, it's still too dark to run after dinner.  I have to make my schedule according to when Hubby can watch the kids.  He has been getting home around 7:00 lately so running after dinner has been out of the question.  Hopefully soon though!

Needless to say, I'm pretty darn proud of myself!  Does anyone else have a success story to share?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things to Think About

Look at your hands.  If your ring finger is taller than your index finger, studies say you are twice as likely to suffer from arthritis in your knees.  The bigger the difference, the greater the risk.  Upon examination, it looks like I may need to start worrying about my knees.  Great, one more thing to worry about!  (Wow, my hands look old!)

Did you know that the bottom of your purse can have 16,000 times more germs than a toilet seat?  Think about setting your bag on the floor at a restaurant or at work.  Now don't ever do it again!  I always hang my bag on the back of my chair at restaurants.  And if that doesn't work for some reason, I hold it in my lap.  Several years ago, Hubby and I returned home from a restaurant where I had placed my bag on the floor.  When we got home, I set it down on the kitchen floor and saw a huge, giant bug scamper out of it.  I screamed (I'm a wimp), and sent Hubby after it.  He trapped it and went to the light to inspect it.  (He once worked as an exterminator so he can handle these kinds of things.)  Then he confirmed my worst fear:  it was a roach!  Needless to say, I never ate at that restaurant again.  And I never placed my bag on the floor again!

Your car's dashboard is another place that can harbor tons of bacteria, especially in warm climates.  Dashboards in cold climates are prone to mold.  So you lose no matter where you live!  You should regularly wipe down your steering wheel, radio, and controls with antibacterial wipes.

One place you certainly don't want bacteria is on fresh produce.  But guess what?  It's there.  You know those little misters that spray water on your head every time you go in to grab some broccoli?  They harbor bacteria and spread it to your fresh food.  So make sure you clean your produce well before putting it away at home.

Do you get enough sleep?  The National Sleep Foundation published a study on how much sleep people need at different ages in life.  Newborns (0-2 months) need 12 to 18 hours of sleep a day while infants (3-11 months) need 14-15 hours.  Toddlers (1-3 years) should receive 12-14 hours of sleep and Preschoolers (3-5  years) 11-13 hours.  School-age kids require 10-11 hours.  Teens and tweens from age 10-17 need 8 1/2-9 1/4 hours.  And the amount of daily sleep recommended for adults is 7-9 hours. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Palmetto State, Here I Come!

I'm so excited...I'm going here in a couple weeks! 

South Carolina in the Spring is one of my favorite places to be!  After a long, cold winter, I love the warm temperatures of the South!  I don't handle heat well, so I don't care for South Carolina in July (I nearly melted last time we were there in the Summer.) 

We get to vacation with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece this year!  I know we'll have a lot of fun together.  They've never been there so we're anxious to show them all the sights.

I just wonder how long it's going to take me to catch up on all my blog reading when I get back?  I don't plan to be on the computer while I'm there.  Too much to see, too much to do!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Knowledge Networks - Possible Scam???

Recently in the mail, we received an 8x10" white envelope addressed to Current Resident.  Hubby was on his way to the trash can but decided to open it, just to see what it was.  It contained these documents along with two crisp dollar bills.  OK, now they've got our attention!  The welcome letter stated that our household was invited to join KnowledgePanel.  "Each year, only a few addresses are selected at random to get this invitation."  The letter said that participating in surveys will earn cash and other rewards.  In fact, it said that $10 will be given for each member of the family (over 13) who signs up and completes the introductory survey.

Well, I am a great fan of surveys and any type of form that requires writing neat, capital letters in boxes or filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil.  So getting paid to take surveys....sounds too good to be true!  I am a very skeptical person who thinks that anyone and everyone is out to get me somehow.  So I was ready to pocket the two bucks and toss the high quality, glossy brochure.

But instead, I decided to do a little investigating.  Isn't Google one of the greatest devices ever invented?  I Google all kinds of things every day!  When I typed in "Knowledge Networks," the recommended key phrase popped up - "Knowledge Networks Scam."  Oh no, I thought, here we go!  But every article I read was by someone like me who was asking if anyone had encountered problems with this company.  Some were dated from years ago.  No one had anything bad to say.  My skepticism dialed down a bit and I began to wonder if this company was actually legit.  Then I found this page from The Better Business Bureau rating Knowledge Networks with an A+!  So I got to wondering, Is the BBB in on it too?  Are they all trying to scam me?

At this point, I don't know what to think.  Hubby thinks I should give it a try.  They don't ask for membership fees or bank account information, they don't draw blood, ask for your social security number, or fingerprint.  Has anyone else had experience with this company?  Am I being naive to consider joining something that sounds too good to be true?  I would appreciate any thoughts you might have.  Thanks, friends!

(*edit - For an update of my experiences with Knowledge Networks, please see my follow-up post here.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Signs of Spring

The Magnolia Tree is Blooming

The tulips I planted in the fall have broken ground

The Daffodil I planted to honor a young
boy's lost battle with cancer is growing tall

My tomato plants are emerging (and are not yet dead)

Misplaced toys litter the yard

What represents Spring in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's For Dinner?

What's for dinner?  Chicken Paprikash!  Or as Baby Girl calls it, "Pepper Couch."

This is a recipe that has been passed down from my great-grandmother.  When she came to America from Hungary at the age of 16, she worried about how she would make a living.  Speaking broken English, she applied for a job as a housekeeper.  She was asked if she knew how to cook.  Of course, she answered yes...she needed the job.  But in reality, she had never prepared a meal in her life.  So she learned how to be a fantastic cook through trial and error.

She raised five children on a small farm with very little money.  They grew potatoes and apples and raised chickens.  So most of my heritage recipes contain a few simple ingredients:  chicken, potatoes, and some sort of noodle.  Chicken Paprikash is no different.  My grandfather learned how to make it from his mother and my mom learned how to make it from him.  I followed suit and enjoy preparing it occasionally for both my mother and grandfather.  I'm sure great-grandma's was better, but my Hunky blood is watered down so I do my best.

Here's the procedure, which isn't really a recipe.

Chicken Paprikash

Boil a whole chicken or several chicken pieces (both white and dark meat) in a large pot with salt and paprika.  The longer you boil it, the richer your broth will be. 

In a small skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with a few shakes of paprika. Dice sweet onion (anywhere from a tablespoon to half of the onion...depending on your taste) and saute in the butter and paprikash. When onion is tender, add entire contents of skillet to boiling chicken.  (I usually saute the onion in the same pot I'm going to boil the chicken in.  When the onion is tender, I add the raw chicken and fill the pot with water.  It saves a dish from being washed.)

Several hours later, remove chicken and allow to cool.  If you need more broth, add water or canned chicken broth.  Return to a boil.  Peel and dice a couple potatoes; add to boiling broth.  Chop 1 - 3 carrots and add to soup.  Slowly boil or cover and simmer until potatoes are almost tender.  Meanwhile, prepare dumplings. 

In a wide, shallow bowl, add 2 C of flour.  Make a well and add 2 eggs.  Lightly beat the eggs with a fork inside the well without disturbing the flour.  Add 1/2 C boiling broth to the eggs and lightly beat with a fork.  Gradually, mix in all the flour with your fork.  When it gets too difficult, use your hands.  Dough can be covered with a towel until needed.  (This recipe may easily be cut in half if you don't like a lot of dumplings in your soup.)

To add the dumplings to the soup, make sure the broth is boiling.  Pinch off small pieces of dough, the size of a grape or cherry tomato, and drop into the hot broth.  Make sure the pieces of dough do not touch one another until after they have been immersed in the broth.  If the dough becomes too sticky to handle, you may add more flour.  When all the dumplings are added, cover and simmer until all vegetables and dumplings are done.

Taste the broth.  You may need to add more salt.  If you would like spicier Paprikash, add a pinch or two of hot paprika (a little goes a long way).  Broth should be fairly red/orange in color.  Add more paprika to achieve a darker color.

Before serving, debone chicken and add as much as you would like to the soup.  Once the chicken is added, do not boil again.  Boiling will make the chicken stringy.

Serve with fresh bread for dipping.  The proper way to eat Hungarian Paprikash is to dip bread into the broth!  We prefer Italian bread, but this time I used my own homemade sourdough bread!  Mmmm....delish!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Conversations with Baby Girl

-What have supper night?
-What are we having for supper tonight?  Ribs.
-I no like dat.
-What do you want for supper tonight?
-OK, we'll have meat.  With barbecue sauce on it.
-Are you gonna eat it?

-"You're precious!" I told her the other day.
-"I not precious.  I pretty!" was her reply.


I was helping her go potty this morning when she suddenly exclaimed, "I have dia-REE-ah!"  She didn't, but
she must have learned a new word. 


It took us about a week to figure out what she wanted when she said she wanted to watch "Bus." I racked my brain...did we have any videos with school buses on them? Maybe trains...is she confused? No, she didn't want Chuggington or Choo Choo Soul. As I was scrolling through the DVR menu, she suddenly stopped me and yelled, "Bus!" It was The Wizard of Oz. Then I figured out how she got "Bus" out of that. She left off the words "The Wizard." So she was saying "Of Oz." But she can't say "of." She says, "ub." So then the title became "Ub Os," because she can't make a Z sound yet. So this is how we got "Bus" out of The Wizard of Oz. I'm just glad I finally figured it out! I think it's because I'm starting to think like a 2-year-old.


-What supper night?  (This is the new thing she asks every day.)
-Pepper Couch?
-Yes, Pepper Couch.  Do you like that?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hashbrown Casserole

I think most everyone in America has the recipe for Hashbrown Casserole, but just in case you don't, here it is.  It's worth repeating...it's that good!

Hashbrown Casserole
1 32 oz. package frozen hashbrowns, thawed
1 C sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick butter, melted
2 C shredded Cheddar cheese
Cornflake Crumbs, set aside

Mix first 5 ingredients and spoon into a 9x13" casserole dish.  Cover liberally with Cornflake Crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Perfect for potlucks!

*You can use either shredded hashbrowns or Southern style (cubes).  They both come out great.
*O'Brien hashbrowns (diced potatoes with onions and peppers) give an extra kick to this recipe.
*I used light sour cream and low fat cream of chicken soup this time.  It still tasted great!
*I only used about 3/4 of a stick of butter and upped the light sour cream a bit.  I didn't miss the butter and it was extra creamy.
*I have had this recipe with every kind of topping from crushed potato chips to Chinese noodles.  I personally think Cornflake Crumbs are the best topping.  They come in a box in the bread aisle, pre-crushed.  It's much easier than crushing them yourself.  Plus, they're extra fine so they turn out crispy instead of mushy.
*Funny story:  once my sister-in-law ran out of Cornflake Crumbs but had some cereal in her cupboard.  So she decided to crush them herself.  As they were eating the casserole, someone commented that it tasted different, kind of sweet.  At that moment, she realized she crushed Frosted Flakes instead of Cornflakes!  We talk about it every time we eat this together!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eagle Cam

A friend turned me on to this website and my family has had a wonderful time watching it!  It is a live video stream of an eagle's nest in Norfolk, Virginia.  Several times, we have seen one of the parents feeding the tiny, little eaglets.  We've seen them eat fish, squirrel, and something unidentified.  Those little babies sure are hungry!  I haven't checked yet today but the third egg is supposed to hatch any time (if not already).  We have learned a lot!  They have moderators who answer questions and a camera guy who will zoom in on the action.  Check it out...it's really interesting!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homemade Sourdough Bread

I'm experimenting with something totally brand new to me....homemade sourdough bread from a "starter!"  A friend from church brought a gallon ziplock bag full of smelly goop to me last Sunday.  I have made Amish Friendship Bread from a starter dozens of times (and LOVE it) but I had never heard of sourdough bread from a starter.  I'm a huge fan of sourdough and could start naming which restaurants serve the best sourdough bread or rolls. 

My friend didn't give me much information about the starter.  I'm not the Rachael Ray kind of chef who just guesses on amounts and throws things into the pot.  I like to bake according to strict science!  So I wasn't happy to just wing it and try a few different things.  I googled and I searched.  I found a lot of information online that really helped me gain some understanding of what this whole sourdough starter thing is.  This is an extremely helpful website. 

Here are some tips that I found to be helpful:
  • It takes 2-3 days for the Sourdough Starter to ripen and develop flavor.  If it isn't bubbly or has an off aroma, discard and start over.
  • Let your starter ripen at least 3 days.  Ripening happens at room temperature.  Once that process has happened, your starter goes in the fridge. 
  • If your starter ripens in a place warmer than room temperature (72 to 74 degrees F), it may require more flour and less water to ferment.  Cooler temperatures slow development, which may require an extra day of fermenting.
  • Sourdough Starters should be fed at roughly 12-hour intervals, but you don't have to set your alarm clock.  Instead, find times that work best for you- say, just after breakfast and just after dinner. 
  • Ripened starters (in the fridge) only need to be fed once a week.  They can last forever in the fridge if you feed them.  Discard half of the starter before refrigerating.  Feed it equal parts of flour and water.  (If you have 1/4 C starter, stir in no more than 1/4 C each flour and water.  Increase this amount incrementally over time.)
  • The riper the starter, the paler in color your loaf will be.  Acidic batters and doughs resist browning.
  • The loaf freezes well when wrapped whole in plastic wrap.
  • Sourdough Starters are a matter of taste and preference.  Experiment with different types of flours and allow them to develop over longer and shorter periods of time to find your favorites.
Here is a recipe for regular Sourdough Bread or Rolls:

3 C bread flour, divided
1 1/4 t quick-rising yeast
1 1/4 C Sourdough Starter
2 T light brown sugar
1 1/2 t salt

The sponge after sitting overnight
1.  Combine 1 1/2 C bread flour with yeast in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, stir together starter, 1/4 C lukewarm water, and brown sugar.  Stir in flour-yeast mixture.  Cover loosely and let sit overnight.  (This mixture becomes what you call a "sponge.")

2.  The next day, stir 1 C flour and salt into sponge until thoroughly combined.  Stir in remaining 1/2 C flour, 1-2 T at a time, until shaggy dough forms.  Knead dough on a lightly floured work surface or with electric mixer fitted with dough hook 3-5 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.  Roll dough into an 8" cylinder.  Place in a 9x5" loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Cover loosely, and let rise 1 hour, or until dough is 1/4" above top of pan.

The dough, before rising

The risen dough

3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut a 1/2" deep slash lengthwise down center of loaf with serrated knife.  Bake 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 198 degrees F.  Run knife around pan edges to release bread.  Unmold, and cool 45 minutes before slicing and serving.

My Thoughts:
-  The bread was delicious!  Hubby said it reminded him of something that came from Panera.  It was very heavy and dense and the outer crust was very crispy.
-  The first time, I tried to make the bread all in one day.  I started it early in the morning and hoped that I would have enough time for all the steps by dinnertime.  I wouldn't advise this, as I felt very rushed.  I feel like the dough could have risen longer.  I didn't give it the full amount of time it needed.  The second time, I started the night before and I thought the final product turned out much better.
- All the articles and recipes I read said that it's less about a recipe and more about feel.  Well, it's tough to know how it's supposed to feel when you've never done it before.  My first loaf was a little too dry.  The second time, I didn't add quite as much flour.  The dough was slightly sticky and turned out much better.
The best thing since sliced bread!
- Over the weekend, I might try my hand at sourdough pretzels.  They look so yummy in all the recipes I've searched!  I'll let you know how that turns out.
-  I don't have the instructions for making a starter yet since mine was given to me.  My friend is supposed to give it to me sometime this week.  I will post it as soon as she does.

Let me know if any of you are daring enough to try your hand at homemade sourdough bread!  I would be interested to hear your results!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lucky Fortune

I recently received this in a fortune cookie from PF Chang's.
I figured this was probably lucky for me!  The other side says:

You will become more passionate and determined about your vision.

Well, that's good because I have a vision for many different things.  This blog is one of them.  Do you guys think I've become more passionate and determined lately?  :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Cleaning

There's something about this time of year that gives me the itch to get all the winter clutter and filth removed from my home.  I think it has something to do with being cooped up in the house for so long.  The junk shoved into every nook and cranny of the house starts to drive me crazy after a while.  I can only take it for so long.  The melting snow seems like nature is cleaning up after a long, hard winter and I should too.

But the thought of all that painstaking work makes me want to cry!  There's nothing like the feel and smell of a clean house, but thinking about what it takes to get to that point is almost more than I can bear.  I wish I could afford to hire someone to come in here and do it all for me.  I would be relaxing in a hot tub or receiving a massage while this transpired.  But I'm so picky; I would come home and be dissatisfied that the dishes aren't stacked exactly how I like them or that the baby's toys aren't in the proper baskets.  So I'm better off to just suck it up and get it done myself.

To help fend off the overwhelming feeling of taking it all on at once, I like to break it down and focus on one thing at a time.  I don't have an entire day (or twelve days) to devote to Spring Cleaning the house so I have to do a little bit at a time.  For example, as I was putting away the groceries today, I realized I couldn't stuff one more thing into the snack cupboard.  So I took everything out, wiped it down, and refilled it.  I threw away so many empty packages and stray cookies that somehow escaped the box.  And, you might not believe me, but I found NINETEEN cups of applesauce in there!  Big Sis likes to take it to lunch every day so I buy a package of six every week at the store.  But I didn't consider that she buys her lunch about once a week, we've had tons of snow days lately, and she sometimes takes an orange or grapes in place of applesauce.  So cleaning out and organizing helped me realize that I don't need to buy applesauce for a very long time.  Anyway, to get back on track, it only took about five minutes to clean out that single cupboard.  I can handle that.  Maybe after lunch I'll give myself another small task.

I've always envied Samantha from Bewitched.  I don't care what my mortal husband would have said, I totally would have snapped my fingers or twitched my nose every day to clean up the messes my four kids made.  But she only had Tabitha, and she knew Mr. Tate stopped over like every day, so I guess she was able to keep her house cleaner than I do.  (Actually, didn't she end up having a little boy toward the end of the show?  If so, I don't remember his name.)  But if I really could snap my fingers and have all my chores done, here are the top ten things I would allow my magic to handle:
1.  Big Sis' Closet
She has more clothes than anyone else in the house, seeing as she was my first daughter after two boys.  OK, I tend to go overboard when it comes to stylizing her!  But only about 2/3 of the stuff in her closet actually fits.  I need to go through it and pack up everything she's outgrown for poor Baby Girl who gets stuck with the hand-me-downs.  I am totally dreading this chore!
2.  The Refrigerator
I am the queen of filling little Tupperware containers with leftover food that never gets eaten.  I am also so guilty of allowing fruits, vegetables, and deli meat to rot to an unidentifiable state before throwing it away.  My fridge is in bad need of a good cleaning!
3.  The Garage
I don't actually feel like this is my area, seeing as how I have a husband and two sons.  But it needs done nonetheless.
4.  The Corners and Crevices of My Bedroom
When I clean, my bedroom usually comes last.  No one really sees it and I concentrate on the lower story first.  I try to keep my room somewhat clean; I make my bed every day.  But I rarely get those cruddy areas behind the door, under the bed, and between the dressers and wall.  I have wood floors so all the dust just sits there, staring at me.  I wish I could take all the furniture out of my room and give it a good scrubbing.
5.  The Basement
If any of you saw my basement, I would die of humiliation.  I'm scared to death that we will need a repairman to make an emergency visit and I won't be able to get the basement cleaned out in time.  I need to find that one really good friend who is willing to come clean my basement at the moment she hears of my tragic, unexpected death.  I would do it for you...any takers?
6.  The Unmatched Socks Basket
Don't we all have one?  With 12 feet running around this house, we have a lot of socks!  It seems like we only have one half of a hundred different pair.  I'm tempted to throw them all away and buy everyone fifty pairs of all the same sock.  (But I'm way too cheap for that!)
7.  The Bathtub
I don't really mind cleaning the bathroom but I hate cleaning the bathtub.  It's that chore I save 'til the very end.  I hate bathing in a dirty tub and I wish someone would clean it out every time one of the six people in my house uses it!
8.  The Dishes
Normally, I keep my dishes caught up.  But today they're piled up halfway to heaven.  So right now, I wish I could snap my fingers and have them all clean and stacked nicely in the cupboards.  You might ask, "Why are you sitting here blogging when you're dishes are so behind?"  That was an awfully rude question for you to ask and no, I don't have an answer!
9.  The Walls
Wiping down the walls is not something I do often.  But I love the feel and smell of my house when it's been done.  Lemon-scented Pine Sol is the best for that!  Or purple Fabuloso!  Yeah, I wish I could use my magic for that one.
10.  The Thrift Store Pile
I make all these piles of things to take to the thrift store, I usually even box them up, and then I never drop them off.  I really don't know why I have a mental block about this one.  It would be so easy to throw them in the trunk and drop them off next time we're out running errands!  Since this is so easily done, I should aim to accomplish this before the week's end.

What is your Number One Most Dreaded Spring Cleaning Chore???

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reasoning with a 2-year-old

"Who gave you that sucker?"
"Baby gave you that sucker?"
"Baby is not allowed to give you suckers.  Mama has to give you suckers."
{adorable grin}
"Well, you can keep it if you let me take your picture."

-ten minutes have passed-

"Where's your sucker?"
"I eat it."
"Where's the stick?"
"I eat it."
"You ate the stick?"
"Where's the sucker stick that you hold with your hand?"
"I put it da ploor."
"You put it on the floor?  Pick it up and put it in the trash."
"No, I put it da ploor.  I watch Dritch."
"You can watch Grinch when you throw your stick in the trash."

I guess that wasn't too bad.
She got a sucker and I got ten quiet minutes while she ate it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Calling All My Penny-Pinching Friends...

So, you all know how extremely cheap frugal I can be and how I always go the extra mile to save a buck.  I give at-home haircuts to all my boys, I use the grocery store's sale flyer to plan my menu for the week, I never buy soft drinks at the drive-thru, I never purchase anything that's full price, I shop around at several different places to find the best deal, and I clip coupons from the Sunday paper.

When I was down with a sprained ankle during the Christmas shopping season, I ended up doing the majority of my shopping online.  But paying for shipping was something I avoided at all cost.  So I got the bright idea to search for coupon codes online.  Most of the time, that ended up working great.  But occasionally, I would stumble upon a scam website that wanted you to register your bank account number and promise your firstborn child's soul to them.  Not really, but I got a very uneasy feeling from some of the sites.  And then there were sites like this one, http://www.couponchief.com/ that made me feel very comfortable.  You don't have to click on anything to reveal the coupon code.  It's listed right in plain sight.  You don't have to register your blood type and mother's maiden name.  You just search for the site where you're shopping and it will show you all the coupons available.  During Christmas, I saved tons of money with free shipping codes, 25% off codes, and $10 off a $50 purchase codes.  You can't beat that!  I ended up spending much less than I would have it I had shopped in stores.

So for the extra twelve seconds it takes to find a code on couponchief.com, you could save yourself a pretty penny!  I suggest trying it out next time you're online shopping!  Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Worst Day...concluded

This is the last post in my series entitled The Worst Day of My Life.  I promise to return to happier things soon! 

This story actually takes place over three months.  Yeah, it was that bad!  It began September 3, 2008 at approximately 2:00 AM.  I went into labor with my fourth child, soon-to-be Baby Girl.  I wasn't due for two more weeks but I knew this was it.  I got all of my things together, called the grandparents over to stay with the other kids, and made the familiar middle-of-the-night journey to the hospital.  I'd been there, done that before...no big deal. 

The house doctor was too concerned about missing his own sleep and wasn't too thrilled that I was there.  He ordered me to be hooked up to monitors and told me to rest.  Yeah right...I'm in labor, stupid!  A couple hours later, another house doctor came to check my status.  In broken English, he said "I no send you home!  You in labor!"  Well, duh!  They prepped me for my fourth C-Section...again, no big deal.  I knew what to expect.  Although the only difference was that this was THE LAST C-Section.  The nurses were asking me all the routine questions and then asked if I was getting a tubal this time.  "Yes, Ma'am!" I replied.  "Where's your paperwork?" she asked.  "I don't know."  That's not my job, I thought.  "Oh," they casually explained, "you didn't fill out your paperwork a month in advance...no tubal for you."  So, even though I was going to be wide open on a surgery table, and I told them at my first OB appointment that I wanted a tubal, they couldn't do it.  I was not too happy.

They wheeled me into the OR where the anesthesiologist introduced herself.  She introduced me to another woman who "would be helping out."  Stupid me didn't catch on.  What she should have said is, "This person has no clue what she's doing and has never done a spinal before.  How about if she practices on you?"  As I was hunched over, contracting and freezing, this person started poking me in the spine with needles.  She hit some sort of nerve that caused me to jump and scream.  Oh great, I thought, now I'm paralyzed.  Fantastic.  She apologized and tried again...and again...and again.  It took four tries, with me screaming during each one, before she got it.  I was sweating by this point and feeling very faint.  I started vomiting but couldn't sit up.  So they tried to prop up my body so I didn't aspirate.  They gave me such strong medication to stop the vomiting that I barely remember the birth of my daughter.  I remember Hubby saying, "It's a girl!"  I drowsily replied, "Oh," and went to sleep.  So the Magic Moment of my last baby's birth was robbed from me.  I don't remember leaving the Operating Room.

Once I recovered from the traumatic spinal, I was doing well.  The baby was healthy and beautiful.  Then on her second day, she got very fussy.  She acted like she was starving all the time and she wouldn't nurse long.  Of course, the nurses kept offering formula but I turned it down.  I had successfully nursed three other babies and I was going to do it again.  So they brought in the hospital pump so I could check my milk supply.  After 15 minutes, I only had a dot of milk the size of a nickel.  So there was a problem.  I sobbed, upset that I couldn't provide for my baby.  I offered her a bottle, which she downed in five minutes flat.  What kind of mother was I?  I stayed in the hospital an extra day, trying to get the nursing problem solved.  I met with lactation consultants who didn't seem to know any more about breastfeeding than I knew.  I went home, feeling totally frustrated. 

A few days later, I visited a lactation nurse out of Children's Hospital.  She suggested that perhaps I had a thyroid problem.  She asked if I had lost any hair.  YES!  Had I lost or gained weight?  YES!  Other than the little baby belly, I was much thinner than before I got pregnant.  I didn't have an appetite.  So she sent me for blood work.  The doctor said I had extreme hyperthyroidism.  But the bad news was that my low milk supply wouldn't be able to be corrected.  I was able to supply about half of Baby Girl's milk for six months.  For a couple months after that, I nursed her to go to sleep and at night.  The lactation nurse ordered a thyroid scan a couple days later at the hospital.

When Baby Girl was 2 1/2 weeks old, I started having sharp pains in my stomach.  I just wanted to ignore the pain but Hubby made me go to the ER.  They gave me a CT scan but didn't see any problems.  So they sent me home.  Two days later, it was time for my thyroid scan.  At the hospital, they asked if I had received any type of contrast recently, like for a CT scan.  You betcha!  Well then, that means they couldn't do the thyroid scan.  Of course.  So I went to my family doctor and filled him in.  He started pushing on my stomach and I about lost it!  Wow, the pain!  He sent me straight back to the hospital for an ultrasound.  That showed nothing so they sent me back to ER.  I sat in the ER all day with my newborn baby and my father.  My mom and Hubby were both at work.  After about eight hours, they decided to take me back in for another CT scan because they didn't know what else to do.  I had to get infant formula from the maternity floor because I had run out of milk (both kinds). 

As I sat on the scan table, someone interrupted and stopped the test.  Some dude, somewhere in the hospital, thought he might have seen something on the both the ultrasound and scan.  They only thing they could do was take me into surgery.  Lovely.  I left my newborn baby with my father as I was wheeled, sobbing, down to the OR.  At the last minute, both my mom and Hubby arrived.  That helped put me at ease.  In surgery, they found my appendix extremely inflamed.  Because I had just had a baby, it was not in the proper place and was hiding behind something else.  So they removed it but I had to stay overnight in the hospital.  My mom kept my newborn baby overnight.  I cried all night long. 

I know this story is getting really long but it isn't over yet.  I'll try to make it quick.  The next week, Hubby found out that he had a tumor inside his nose, almost between his eyebrows.  He was admitted to the hospital for a minor procedure to remove the tumor.  All went well and he was discharged the next day.  But a week later, he started having major bleeding and was admitted again.  They got the bleeding stopped but kept him.  I got a phone call at 2:00 AM that they were rushing him into surgery.  So I had to wake up both my parents...my dad stayed with my kids and my mom drove me to the hospital.  I still was not allowed to drive from my surgeries!  My poor newborn baby spent more time in that hospital her first few weeks than she did at home!  But all turned out well.

UNTIL I had to got back into surgery for my long overdue tubal.  My gut had been cut open three times in  three months.  It looked like I had been through war.  It's a wonder I recovered!  But I did, we both did, and have had no problems since.  It was a rough couple of months and I consider them The Third Worst Day(s) of My Life.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Worst Day...continued

Maybe it's all the rain that's causing me to be such a downer but I wasn't finished with my post yesterday.  It was just getting too long to continue.  But even though I'm sharing sad stories, they kind of have good endings.  The endings are that I survived and I'm still living my life.  So when life gets you down, just breathe and know that your problems will soon pass.

The second worst day of my life was in August of 1993.  I don't remember the actual date but it was the summer right before I started my Senior year of high school.  (Yes, I'm THAT old.)  My parents and I were enjoying a relaxing summer evening in the basement of our home.  I remember the picture so clearly:  my dad was playing Solitaire on the computer and my mom was ironing.  She and I liked to watch old black and white movies when there was a lot of ironing to be done.  My brother wasn't home; he was actually running around somewhere with the man I ended up marrying. 

The phone rang and my mother walked to the computer desk to answer it.  I paused the movie to wait for her to finish her conversation.  I wasn't really paying attention but I heard make a noise like she was laughing at a funny story.  I looked at her, grinning, and said, "What?"  She had an odd look on her face and she wasn't holding the phone next to her ear.  The next thing I remember was her stiff body falling straight down on the ground.  Her head hit the coffee table and shoved it against the couch where I was sitting.  I remember screaming.  My mother's body lay lifeless on the basement floor and I had no clue what to do.  My dad was instantly next to her on the floor, assessing the situation.  He called her name and gently shook her body.  No response.  I picked the phone up off the floor to call 911.  But I didn't hang it up long enough for it to reset.  So I placed it back on the receiver and ran upstairs to call for an ambulance.  I remember the phone call:
  - 911, what is your emergency?
  - My mother just fell over, I don't know what's wrong with her.
  - OK, we'll send somebody right over.
They didn't keep me on the line; they didn't ask if I was OK.  Maybe they couldn't tell I was just a kid. 

After I hung up, the phone instantly rang again.  "Hello?" I quickly answered.  It was the woman my mother had been talking to when she fell.  I hung up on her and ran back downstairs.  My mother was still lifeless and my dad was performing CPR.  That was just more than I could handle.  So I ran outside and tore across the yard.  My grandparents lived two houses away (I told you we were all close).  I noticed their garage door was just beginning to close so I started beating on it.  My grandfather heard the noise and came out.  I don't remember what I said to him but I remember running back across the yard.  I took him downstairs where my dad was still working on my mom.  I must have been somewhat hysterical because someone told me to go wait for the ambulance.  In reality, I think it arrived in five minutes.  But it felt like an eternity.  My crazy old great-aunt (whose house I now live in) saw the commotion and stood outside to wait with me.  She patted my hand.  I had never been so thankful for my crazy great-aunt before. 

When the emergency crew arrived, I took them downstairs where my mother was slowly regaining consciousness.  She was helped upstairs and sat down in a kitchen chair.  She had no memory of what happened.  At first, she didn't even recognize me.  She just cried into my dad's chest.  Around this time, our back door slowly creaked open.  The husband of my mom's friend appeared with a baseball bat.  She heard a thud and then heard me scream.  They assumed we were being robbed.  How horrible is that?!? 

They took my mom to the hospital via ambulance.  They confirmed that she had a grand mal seizure.  I was so affected by it and wouldn't leave her side.  The next evening at almost the same time, she began seizing again.  She stopped and then went right back into another seizure.  It continued for more than twenty minutes and they flew out of the room to get her stabilized somewhere.  She ended up staying in ICU for ten days. 

She recovered, probably quicker than I did.  For the next year or so, if I would come into the house after school, unable to find her, I would start looking around the house to see if she was collapsed on the floor somewhere.  My hair began falling out in hunks and I had a hard time concentrating in school.  My mother was put on medication that prohibited her from driving for six months.  So I became the primary driver in our home.  I drove her to the grocery store, to church, and drove my little brother to all his activities.  Six months later, she took herself off the seizure medication because she just didn't feel right.  That was six more months she couldn't drive.  I worried about her for a long time after that.  But she claimed a healing.  She hasn't had one problem since that day in the hospital!

I'm so thankful for stories that have happy endings!  But now you know The Second Worst Day of My Life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Worst Day of My Life

All in all, I have a very happy life.  I am thankful for so many things.  I have never been divorced, I have never been addicted to a foreign substance, I have never been suicidal, I have never been bankrupt, and I have never lost a child.  But I have cried myself to sleep once or twice.  I can think of a couple specific days that I would rate as The Worst Days of My Life.  I don't use that phrase loosely and it bothers me when people do.  A certain person in my life has often uttered the words to me, "I had the worst day of my life today."  After hearing her use this phrase more than a handful of times, I finally called her out on it.  "Wow," I said.  "You sure have a lot of worst days of your life.  I'm glad I don't have the worst day of my life as often as you do."  OK, maybe I was a little too harsh.  But that phrase carries a lot of meaning and shouldn't be thrown around so carelessly.

The Worst Day of My Entire Life was December 23, 2003.  I was two months pregnant with Big Sis and I was very sick.  I had done very little Christmas shopping, as I was barely able to leave the house.  My mother had been acting strange for a while and I could tell she was hiding something from me.  Finally after my constant hounding, she revealed that she was concerned about her only sister who was going through some problems.  I quickly brushed it off, stating that everything would be fine.  It always was.  You would have to understand how close my family is to have a concept of why this was so traumatic to me.  My aunt is a mix between my big sister and second mother.  We are neighbors and see each other every day.  Two days before Christmas, her poor excuse of a husband decided to rip my family and church totally apart by telling his wife he was leaving her.  He told her that he didn't find her attractive and that he hadn't loved her in a long, long time (his exact words).  He packed up his things and moved to South America to be with a woman he had been seeing for some time.  He left behind his three sons, the youngest who was 8.  He left behind a luxurious home with a stay-at-home wife who couldn't afford it.  He fought to get out of spousal and child support.  He was a minister who tore apart a church as well as a family.

This news hit me like a ton of bricks.  All I was able to do was lie on the couch, sobbing and vomiting from morning sickness.  I couldn't eat.  My poor little boys, aged 4 and 2, kept asking what was wrong.  They would place their tiny hands on my cheek and say, "Why are you crying, Mama?"  I couldn't care for them.  It broke my heart.  I worried that I was going to lose my baby because I wasn't taking care of my own needs. 

Seven years have passed and I have recovered.  But I still consider that day The Worst Day of My Life.  I would kick that man in the face if I ever laid eyes on him again.  Thankfully, I haven't.  My aunt still struggles every day of her life to pay bills that she can't afford.  She has two boys in college and one in high school.  Their father cut the oldest two off the day they turned 18.  Classy.  And his story?  He didn't stay with the mistress for very long.  He ended up cheating on her too.  But she became a bit more violent than the first woman he shafted.  (Ha!)  He hooked up with another foreign woman and moved to Asia.  They are married now and he has three step-children.  He treats them better than he treats his flesh-and-blood sons, which disgusts me.  The only consolation I have is that he is going to get what's coming to him.  He may be living in the lap of luxury now with servants, personal chefs, and chauffeurs, but what goes around comes around.  I just hope I get to be there to see it when it does. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One Year!

I just happened to notice that today marks the one year anniversary that I started this blog!  Sorry to be sappy, but I'm kind of proud of myself for sticking it out an entire year!  I lost it for a little while there...I didn't blog from the beginning of April until the middle of June.  But that's the crazy-busy part of my year...always is, will be again this year.  But even with my huge lapse in the Spring, I still managed to post 215 times.  Eh, not bad.

I initially started this blog as a creative outlet.  I guess I was kind of bored (I know, I HATE that word...sorry I used it) and I needed something to do that made me feel useful.  I didn't think people would ever read it.  But more than 20 of you crazy people have decided to read the things I ramble on and on about on a daily basis.  (Ha ha...love you all!)  :)  I'm very thankful for my followers...I think I have become a better writer because of them.

In the past year I have vented, made fun of myself, shared recipes, reviewed products, shared funny kid stories, and experimented with photography.  And that's exactly the kind of blog I wanted...something versatile that covers an array of topics. 

If I had to pick a favorite post, I would choose all the different recipes I've posted.  I love exchanging and sharing recipes with others so I really enjoy getting to post them and photos of them here.

So thank you, dear followers, for sticking with me and reading my pointless nonsense.  And thank you for your comments!  I enjoy reading each and every one of them.  Here's to another year!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living in a Dream World

Has anyone seen this show called Outrageous Kid Parties?  This is absolutely the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen!  The show doesn't tell what the parents do for a living, but these are not fabulously wealthy celebrities we're talking about here.  The family on last night's show lived in a very nice home but drove a mini-van and a non-luxury sedan car.  The little girl, Aniston (how is that for a wanna-be name?), was a total spoiled brat whose mother was trying to live vicariously through her.  The sad thing was that she had other children who seemed to get lost in the shuffle.  The older son was beginning to act out in retaliation of being ignored.  It was truly so sad and pitiful.

The result was a party for an 8-year-old that cost over $29,000!  That is a figure that some families must live on annually and it was blown in a couple of hours.  The mother rented a Hummer limo, a red carpet, paparazzi, a ferris wheel, and a rock band to entertain her 100+ guests, supposedly all without the knowledge of her husband.  She took her daughter for a spa day, modeling lessons, and rock star training.  She kept mentioning how she could see "a little Miley" in her daughter.  Hmmm....talk about rose-colored glasses!

And the saddest part of the whole story was the indecipherable speech impediment that the poor child had.  There were subtitles at the bottom of the screen for most of her dialogue.  If that clueless mother would take the thirty grand she spent on one day and invest it in speech therapy, her daughter would be a much better person because of it.  The way she's spoiling her daughter is turning her into a monster who is never going to learn to cope with the reality of life.

The whole story made me thankful for how I'm grounded in the real world.  I would rather give my children love, support, education, and valuable life lessons than limousines, fireworks, tattoos, and two-thousand dollar cakes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Over the Weekend

I watched my 2nd son place third in his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.

I stopped by the 16th birthday dinner of a girl who, for some reason, totally idolizes me.  Her mother died when she was about ten and I've felt such a burden for her ever since.  When I arrived at the family only dinner, she bear-hugged me and began sobbing.  I can't explain the emotions felt when experiencing something like that.

I did great on my diet.  My only cheat was a small bag of popcorn at the Pinewood Derby.  I'm down 7 lbs.

I bought two tiny potted plants for my kids' elementary teachers.  They were on special at the grocery store for $1.50.  I figured that the care of my children is definitely worth a buck and a half.

I also made sure to return my shopping cart to the proper place in the grocery store parking lot.  I always go the extra mile to place my cart inside the last remaining cart to save the 75-year-old cart guy named Virgil an extra step.

I got to experience some awesome church music on Sunday.

And I kept a somewhat clean house through it all.