~my thoughts about life~

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Randomness

Nothing specific is going on today, so I'll just talk about all the randomness that's wandering around in my head.

Tonight, we're going to the calling hours of a grouchy, old man who liked no one.  Except for my husband.  He absolutely adored my husband.  Hubby has that way of making people like him.  I do not possess that quality.  If I like you, I can usually get you to like me.  But if I don't care for you, I'm certainly not going to put forth the effort.  Sometimes, being nice is way too much effort.  It's rewarding in the end though.  The family asked him to be a pallbearer at the funeral.  So very touching.


I was a good girl today.  I went to my first Lady Doctor appointment since having Baby Girl.  I know, I know...I'm supposed to go annually.  I didn't like my doctor, he makes me wait for an hour to see him, the copay costs a fortune....I could go on and on with my list of excuses.  I finally decided to try my mom's doctor and I absolutely loved her!  She's extremely close, young, and has an awesome personality.  She talked to me through the exam, which distracted me.  When it was over, I barely realized it happened.  We've got some issues to work out and I really like her attack plan.  It sounds very doable, not at all scary, and wise.  Now, I'm feeling relief at finally getting this over.  It's been nearly 5 years.


Baby Girl just asked me, "Mom, can I go try to get some freckles?"  I kissed her little face and asked how she was going to get some freckles.  She squished up that little face and said, "Just go outside, I guess."  That was her clever way of asking if she could play outside, I suppose.  How precious is she?


Today, it was Fall outside.  That's awesome for me.  I could live in a steady, cool climate all year.  I looked kind of cute in my short striped skirt, cardigan, summer scarf, and bare legs.  THE perfect outfit.


I told you about my friend who got engaged.  I made her a crafty gift that I was quite proud of.  Following this example on Pinterest, I printed out a map of the location they got engaged.  He took her to a mountain in Virginia.  I cut a heart from the map, glued it onto a white background, and printed their names and engagement date in a very trendy font.  I framed it in a perfect frame found at the fabulous Hobby Lobby.  Yeah, I'm just cute like that.  :)


I'm also making my own stick props for the photo booth!  I'm just getting too crafty for my own good!  It's all Pinterest!  I choose projects that are extremely easy and see them through til they're done.  I bought my first stick props online, but they're quite costly.  They get destroyed pretty quickly at events, and I want to keep them fresh looking.  Pretty scrapbook paper + a masquerade mask patter = a very simple project!


I saw a post that said something like, "All of us who got married before Pinterest should get a redo wedding."  I totally agree with that statement!


I didn't plant tomatoes this year.  That makes me so sad because this is about the time they would start ripening.  I could really use a great tasting garden tomato right about now.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I'll Have a Steak Sandwich, and a....Steak Sandwich

Bonus points if you know what movie this post title came from.  Hint:  Just put it on Mr. Underhill's tab.

I made something else new for supper last week.  Hubby declared it to be in his top five, or maybe even his top three.  Son #1 agreed.  Son #2 picked, cried, gave dirty looks, and yelled at anyone who was looking at him.  You do the math.

I noticed Beef Round Thin Sandwich Steak in my grocer's meat case.  I had never seen it before.  It was 6 very thin slices of steak, each about 2-3" wide.  The packages were around $5 and were BOGO.  I bought two.

I went to the bakery section and bought the best looking sub rolls I could find.  At the deli, I bought thick slices of Mozzarella.  I already had onion, but my mushrooms were bad.

I thinly sliced sweet onion and sauteed it in oil.  Before it was done, I added thinly cut strips of the steak.  I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.  I cooked it all at a medium high heat for just a few minutes.

I spooned several strips of steak onto one of the delicious buns, topped it with cheese, and popped it in the hot oven.  I added mayo and tomato to mine.  The guys took theirs plain.

For a side, I made oven fries.  Those went over very well!  I sliced 3 medium-large potatoes into 1/4" strips.  I tossed them in 2T oil and 1/2 t salt.  I layed them out on a greased cookie sheet and baked at 450 for 30 minutes.  They were a little tricky to get off the cookie sheet, but they were delicious!  The guys fought over the crispy fries.

The verdict:  I'm definitely adding this to the rotation.  It was quite simple and half the family liked it.  (Those are the best odds I can expect right now.)  One package of the meat (.64 lb.) made 4 sandwiches for us.  One of them was kind of skimpy though.  3 potatoes did not make enough fries for us.  I'll do 4 next time.

Anyone else ever make steak sandwiches?  I'd like to try a Chicken Philly version!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Throwback Photos

I know you've been on pins and needles since yesterday, wondering which kid in the class picture was me!  Was I homely looking or adorable?  Come on now...I was a cutie!  Check me out!!

First Grade
 Pink Jumper and White Bow

Second Grade 
A crocheted sweater from my great-grandma and pigtails

Fifth Grade
I've got braids going on and some sort of loudly printed shirt, which I loved!

Also, I found Shawn from Kindergarten, the one who smelled like eggs.
I'm on the left and he's on the right.  Ah, the bowl cut!  Girls sported it too (see chick in the red jumper.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Romance on the Playground - TBT

Today's Throwback topic (courtesy of Bon) is:
Elementary School Crush

Hmmm...not sure I'm willing to go back THAT far!  The only boy I can remember liking in elementary school was named Ricky.  He had one of those bowl cuts that most boys in the early 80s had.  I remember when he got a regular haircut.  I thought he looked weird and I quit liking him.  I do remember him exposing himself in third grade and the huge deal that was made over it.  The principal came in and talked to us and I got a long talking to by my mom.  Back then, I didn't really see the big deal.  I had a brother...I knew what was up.  I haven't heard boo from him since graduation.  Wonder if he's a pedophile or anything???

In Kindergarten, this kid named Shawn apparently had a crush on me.  He smelled like spoiled eggs.  He leaned over one day and planed a kiss right on me.  I was appalled.  I turned to the person next to me and made him switch me seats.  I don't believe I ever spoke to the kid again....not that I spoke much at that age anyway.

Those two stories make up the entire romance chapter of my elementary school years.  What about you???

Second Grade - Can you tell which one is me?

Fifth Grade

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's for Dinner?

I've been talking a lot lately about changing our typical dinnertime routine.  I'm sick of the stress over what to make, followed by the complaints from my family about what I made.  I'm sick of the kids not eating, sick of the husband half-heartedly eating, and sick of having to clean up after it all.  I decided to lay down the law, list my demands, and try out some new recipes while trying to conform my picky eaters to a normal family.

Pinterest is a great site to find new recipes.  We are extremely picky eaters, so I can only even consider about 1/50 of the recipes on there.  I'm not going overboard here...just trying to stick to somewhat normal things.

This week I tried Italian Chicken Casserole.  I would describe it as a creamy chicken spaghetti.  It is very similar to the Mexican Spaghetti I make, but with Italian flavor instead of Mexican.  Plus, there are no "cream of" soups, which I'm totally over at this point.  I can always taste the fakeness of that soup when I use it in a recipe.

The verdict:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed it.  Hubby said it was good, but 3 of the kids had to be force fed.  Big Sis said that it honestly wasn't that bad.  It's something I'll bring back again with no concerns that it's another thing added to the list of things my children hate.  And by the way, it's definitely not low fat.

Italian Chicken Casserole

2 T olive oil
1 C onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 C cooked chicken, cubed
2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano
1 C heavy cream
3 oz. cream cheese
2 C shredded Mozzarella
8 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat oil.  Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes.  Stir in chicken, tomatoes, and cream.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Add cream cheese and 1 C Mozzarella.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheeses are melted.  Add cooked pasta, tossing gently.  Spoon into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 30 minutes.

My notes:  I dialed down the onion and the garlic, as I always do.  I salted the chicken when I cooked it, as some of the commenters said it needed salt.  I didn't actually measure my chicken, but I think it could have used a bit less.  The chicken seemed to overwhelm the dish a bit.  Several commenters said that their family did not like the chunks of tomatoes and they used pasta sauce instead.  I used my potato masher to crush as many tomatoes as possible.  The kids still complained about the chunks, but I loved it that way.  I also used a half pint of cream, without measuring.  Is that a full cup?

I had leftovers for lunch today, and while it was a tad bit dry from being refrigerated, it was still delicious.  I recommend giving this one a try.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

To make up for yesterday's post, I'm going to talk about the things making me happy today!

First of all, one of my dearest friends got engaged yesterday!  She's marrying my "adopted cousin" and we've all been waiting for this for a while.  I knew they needed to be together years ago.  I knew she liked him, and I was pretty sure he liked her.  He was just too much of a stick in the mud to do anything about it.  I started teasing him about it, in an encouraging, big cousin kind of way.  When he was ready to finally ask her out, he asked my opinion about what to do for their first date.  I've also helped him decide on birthday and Christmas gifts.  I thought he might ask me to help him pick out the ring, but he did that all on his own!  Proud of them!  They got engaged on a mountain in Virginia.  How sweet!  

Another thing making me very happy today is that I am finally done painting!  3 gallons, multiple paint swatches, and what seems like ten hours of cleaning paint brushes later- all the hard work is done!  Now I can concentrate on putting my disorganized house back together!  I need to have my yard sale and get rid of all this extra junk!  

I have a great friend of mine scheduled to come over next week.  She is an interior designer and her skill is second to none!  I'm going to have her walk around the house and do her magic.  I have a certain style I like, but just don't know exactly how to execute it.  I have a little bit of money to spend, but I think she'll be able to move around what I already have and make it look better.  The kids have nothing hanging on their walls yet, but I'm sure she'll know the best way to handle that.  She doesn't charge much, and tries not to charge me at all.  But I want to pay her what she charges everyone else.  Then, I'm going to watch her kids so she can go out alone with her husband.  I'm excited!  

At this very moment, it is not raining.  Yes, it's supposed to rain most of the rest of the day, but it's not raining RIGHT NOW.  I'll take it.  

I made a delicious new recipe last night for dinner!  Of course, the kids didn't like it, but I thought it was fabulous!  I could best describe it as a creamy chicken spaghetti.  Thanks, Pinterest!  I think I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

60 days 'til I leave for New York!

Something that puts a little smile on my face is that my brother bought back our car.  Quick back story- right after Son #1 was born, we were ready to upgrade from our tiny Honda Civic to something larger.  We had our eyes set on a CR-V for quite some time.  We were on a waiting list for like 3 months because of the popularity of the vehicle.  We finally bought one in silver, brand new.  I loved that car.  It was probably my most favorite vehicle ever.  We drove it from 1999 until 2012.  It was still a great car, even though it had a cracked windshield and no A/C.  We repaired the windshield and sold it to my little cousin.  He really enjoyed having a car of his own and just dealt with being hot in the summer.  A couple weeks ago, his dad gave him his newer CR-V.  I hated to see the car go, and they offered it back to us, but it's going to be a couple more years before Son #1 is driving.  I thought it would be so cool for him to drive the car we bought the year he was born!  Anyhow, my brother drives a little sports car that our SUV could run over like a monster truck rally, and it doesn't perform well in our arctic winters.  (I'm worried the deep snow could actually cover it at some point.)  He bought the car back just to drive to work in the winter!  I told him to come see us in 2 years and we'd make a deal!  I love things that stay in the family!

Hubby just got a huge job for his side business!  He's ready to hire some help and really try to get this business going.  Since his day job just gave him the major shaft, he's pursuing what he really wants to do!  His other side job mowing grass is thriving too!  He's ready to collect an $850 check from the landscaper who contracted him!  That's sure going to come in handy with school shopping this year!  At our photo booth Saturday night, I had 2 or 3 people who told me they definitely want to book a gig of their own!  Business #3 taking off!  We're going to be just fine!

Life is good!  Share your warm fuzzies with me today!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bitter, Grouchy, & Grumpy

Feeling a tad grouchy today, so I'm going to share with you a list of things that are currently getting on my nerves.
  • People who talk in code on Facebook.  If your situation is too private to talk about in detail, DON'T PUT IT ON FACEBOOK!
  • Humidity.  Trying to run in this thick air is like trying to run a race in waist-high ocean water.  It just doesn't work.
  • Marathon training.  I don't feel like I'm progressing enough.  This could partly be due to the previous irritant.
  • I'm running 3 times a week, yet I don't seem to be losing any weight.  What, my friends, could be more irritating that THAT???
  • Finding out that my friend's ex-fiancee is engaged.  He dumped her less that a year ago.  Moving kind of quickly now, aren't we???
  • The media.  I'm to the point where I can't open a newspaper or watch any news program.  I can't take it any more.   Everything is blown out of proportion.  Nothing can be believed any more.
  • People getting their feelings hurt.  I wish I had the guts to tell people to Man Up.  
  • Dust.  It's all over me with this cleaning out the rooms nonsense.  As I've aged, I've developed an extreme sensitivity to dust.  It's like I'm in the midst of a full-blown winter cold.  I've gone through half a bottle of Visine.  I think I need one of these.  

  • Road construction.  We have so much of it around here, it's difficult to get anywhere.  I can't even get out one end of my own road.  Going all the way around is quite frustrating.  
  • Here's the biggie:  Hubby got some bad news at work.  I almost feel guilty saying this because I've heard of people all over the place losing their high profile jobs.  Thankfully, Hubby still has a job.  But something that he's been working toward for years has been denied.  The managers there kept hinting that he was going to get it.  His accountant, who works for several of the guys there, even said he heard Hubby was getting it.  WRONG!  He was informed this morning that he was not one of the six people who got it and that he shouldn't be discouraged.  Yeah right...kind of hard not to be discouraged.  I just really feel bad for him.  He is the top employee there and won employee of the month numerous times before they did away with the program.  He feels like he was kicked in the gut.  "Just keep at it," they said, "and maybe another opportunity might come along."  They want him to continue to break his back for them, going above and beyond.  Hate to break it to you guys- you've killed his spirit.  He won't be going above and beyond for you any more.  

Sorry to be a downer today.  But I guess we all have our ups and downs.  At least I'm airing my grievances anonymously on the world wide web rather than talking about them in code on Facebook.  :)

Share your grievances today, friend!  That's what the comment box if for!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Daughter is a Hoarder

I'm still in the midst of all these room renovations and I'm so sick of it, I'm ready to scream!  I gave Big Sis ample warning of what was coming.  She worked and worked on her room...actually, I should have put those words in quotes.  She "worked" and "worked" on her room and finally declared that it was clean.  She was ready to move out.

On her birthday, I allowed her best friend to come over to play outside.  I continued to work on the bedrooms, so as not to lose momentum.  I didn't make her do any chores or cleaning on her birthday.  That night, however, I peered into her room and realized it was again a tornado site.  I just can't deal with that child and her messiness.  She cannot put anything away.  Ever!  And I'm getting ready to move her into a room with a 4-year old who is inflicted with the same disease.  Can y'all predict the outcome of this?

Last night, Hubby and Son #1 disassembled her bed and moved it into the new room.  We are calling this room The Room since it doesn't actually belong to anyone right now.  Son #2 has his clothes in there but his bed is in #1's room.  Baby Girl has her dresser in there, but she's sleeping in Big Sis' room.  It's a hot mess.  As they were taking down her bed, they discovered the (what's the biggest most dramatic word I can come up with?) colossal mess underneath.  There was trash, junk, and crap.  We found two black church shoes that didn't match one another, making it so that she's had no black church shoes lately.  I nearly fainted.  I told her she was NOT moving into The Room until she took care of this mess.  She whined.  She cried.  She begged for help.  I told her that she created this mess...she was going to have to clean it up.

It's been hours.  It's been days.  The mess is getting smaller, but it's still there.  It's to the point that I cannot even stand to look in the room any longer.  I'm trying to help her by taking a few things over at a time.  Her dresser and bed are now set up in The Room.  By the way, it turns out that The Room is much smaller than it seems.  How are we going to fit all this stuff into it?  

I look at photos on Pinterest and see little girls' rooms that look like this:

Yeah, right.  Where is all their STUFF?  These are not real people.  I've determined that my daughter is a hoarder.  Mostly, it's because she's very sentimental.  If anyone gives her anything, she wants to keep it for eternity.  People know she's sentimental and very appreciative, so they give her all their junk.  She has my cousin's bridesmaid bouquet from a wedding a year and a half ago.  I saw her carrying the dust ridden, dead flowers into The Room and I simply said, "No."  I am not going to have her taking a bunch of worthless stuff over to this nice, new, clean space.  

How do you tell a little girl that she can't keep all the wonderful little trinkets and treasures she's collected over the years?  How do you explain that the metal church that kind of looks like a bank, but serves no purpose is junk?  How do you break it to her that the broken vase her grandma gave her needs to be trashed?  It's hard.  Her dresser and bed are dollhouses with multiple shelves.  Up to this point, those shelves have been full of junk.  I simply cannot allow that to happen again.  I'm going to need to stage an intervention for this lovely little girl who wants to save all the lovely little gems that life has blessed (or cursed) her with over the past nine years.  

Anyone want to help???

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I discovered this post on a fun little blog called The Life of Bon.  Unfortunately, I found it a bit too late to participate.  I'm weird this way- if I can't be a part from the beginning, I don't want to play.  This is the reason why I'm not watching Psych like everyone else.  I didn't watch it the first several seasons and I'm worried I'll be lost if I start now.  Hmmm....there's got to be a deeper meaning there, psychology majors!

Anyhow, Bon made a list of TBT (Throwback Thursday) topics to be discussed for the entire summer.  Fun and interesting stories popped into my head immediately for most of these topics.  So, is it wrong to steal her idea, if I totally give her credit for it?  Probably, but I'm feeling quite the rebel today.  

Of course, I want all of you to join along!  You can post about it on your blog, if you want, or you can just share your story in my comment section.  I thought it would be lots of fun to read about everyone else's coming of age time!

Here's her list...so we'll take it one topic at a time:
A memory of learning to drive, your first car or the early driving days.
Elementary school crush
Throwback birthday
Throwback fourth of July
First job
Moving away from home
Memory of one or both of your parents from childhood
Favorite summer vacation
Childhood friends
First kiss
Memory of a high school teacher or high school class
Back to school memory

All Things Driving:
I don't actually have too many memories of learning to drive.  I took driving in Summer School, since my birthday was in June.  For one month, we had a couple hours of instruction, five days a week.  That sounds crazy now!  Today's kids have to have all these logged hours of driving with a licensed driver.

Soon after I got my license, my mom suffered some health problems.  She was unable to drive for a year.  I became the primary driver for our family, at least when my dad was working.  I chauffeured my brother to his activities, took my mom to the grocery store, and did everything else that needed done.  So my first car was the family station wagon.   It was sweet, yo!

My parents got the opportunity to buy a Toyota Tercel from an elderly lady in our church, but it was stick shift.  They offered it to me, of course, but I turned it down.  I had very little confidence that I'd be able to drive a stick.  My brother got the car, and he wasn't even 16 yet.  Even though I made the decision, I was totally jealous.  Then my boyfriend, Hubby attempted to teach me to drive stick.  It did NOT go well.  I threw my hands up in the air, took my feet off of all pedals and told him to make the car stop.  I stormed away from the car and never got behind the wheel of a stick shift again.  I wonder if I could do it now?  The cool this about this picture is that it was taken in my mom's driveway.  In the background, you can see the house where I currently live.  That's my great aunt standing in the driveway.  Things have changed a bit since then, but that's where I live!  Neat, huh?

The first car that was totally mine was a 1984 Dodge 600.  It was a piece of junk but I loved it!  I named it Stormy because it was the color of a storm cloud and sounded like thunder.  

So, those are my early driving stories.  What do y'all have???

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Little Girl, All Grown Up

This little girl celebrated a birthday yesterday.

It's amazing to me how quickly the last nine years have gone.  I don't believe I've ever told the story of her birth on this blog.

I had two little guys at home when I was ready to have baby #3.  They were ages 3 and 5.  I love this picture I have of the boys standing next to me with their hands on my belly.  Their heads were at the perfect height to rest on their unborn sibling.

After I had Son #2, I never thought I'd have a girl.  I saw myself as a Boy Mom only.  We had a house full of matchbox cars and dump trucks.  I was OK with that.  We didn't find out what we were having during our pregnancies, but I was positive #3 was going to be a boy too.  I knew I'd be done having kids after that third boy.  His name was going to be Harrison with a middle name after my brother.

In my first pregnancy, I was nauseated but never threw up.  With son #2, I threw up once.  The third time, I threw up for 3 months solid.  That should have been my first clue what was coming.

We went in for our scheduled C-Section (the only one of my kids who came as scheduled) on May 16, bright and early.  When we arrived, no one could check us in.  They were having a code in the nursery and we were told to just hang tight.  We sat in a room for the longest time, thankful that it wasn't us who was experiencing a baby in trauma.  I calmly crocheted around a baby blanket while I waited.

Eventually, we were told that they had a second emergency and would have to rush another woman into OR ahead of me.  Again, I was just relieved it wasn't me.  My doctor had arrived by this time, so he, the anesthesiologist, Hubby, and I sat in a room and talked.  I got to know them quite well.  Finally, they decided the other woman could wait and they started moving very quickly to get me through my C-Section.  No one was available to start my IV, so the anesthesiologist did it.  She said she hadn't done one in a long time and asked me to be patient with her.  She had to run it wide open to get a bag of fluids in me before the surgery.  I remember sitting there freezing and shivering.  They had to bring me heated blankets.

The C-Section went very well.  I continued to chat with the anesthesiologist above my head while Hubby practically hung over the sheet, not wanting to miss a thing.  When I said I was nauseated, I was given something that made me instantly feel better.

Finally, the doctor announced he saw a head full of black hair.  They saw a face, which they exclaimed to be very beautiful.  Then she popped out.  Hubby announced, "It's a girl!!!"  Saying I was flabbergasted would be an understatement.  There were no words to describe what I was feeling.  "Don't do that to me...that's not funny!" I said.  "Is it really a girl?"  He laughed and confirmed that it was.  I thought he was joking with me.  I then asked the doctor if it was really a girl.  He teased me and confirmed her gender.  I still was not convinced.  I tilted my head up to my new buddy, the anesthesiologist, and asked her if it was really a girl.  She agreed with the others.  We were friends now, so I knew she would lie to me.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.

My brother filmed the moment Hubby told everyone we had a girl.  I still cry every time I see it.  I'm so glad I was able to find it for this post.  My favorite part is when my grandma (in light green), probably my favorite person ever in the world, started jumping up and down.  She wanted a girl so badly!  She passed away a year ago and I'm still so thankful I named this little girl after her.  I miss her.  Watch this video...you'll see how amazing my family is!

Happy Birthday, Big Sis!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Painting and Mowing

I'm taking a break from painting and remodeling to rest my tired, old bones for a bit.  Painting two rooms with a 2-mile run in between is no easy task.  I'm feeling every one of my 37 years.

I actually just finished up the second coat in the girls' room, waiting til it dries to check for missed spots.  I'm very unsure about the color.  Taking a photo of it will not help because it looks a totally color in pictures.  I was aiming for a Tiffany blue, but it's much bolder than I planned.  I should have gone one shade lighter on the paint card.  But when I was making this decision alone, with 3 kids running through the hardware store, the shade lighter looked barely more colored than white.  Even in this photo, the paint looks barely blue.

I wanted pink.  The girls did not.  They don't like pink any more.  It's all about blue now.  I dislike blue, yet I can live with Tiffany blue.  It has just a speck of green to make it interesting.  I am not repainting because I'm tired.  My hands and shoulders are crampy.  We'll have to live with it.  Maybe I'll hang a lot of stuff on the walls to mask the boldness.

A funny thing happened to a friend of mine the other day and I wanted to get an outsider's opinion about the ridiculousness of it all.  He's a hard-working man with a full time job.  He lives in the nice area of town with the manicured lawns and brick homes of the local doctors.  Some of the people up there are very hoity-toity.  They act like they are paying thousands in association fees, which they are not.  Anyhow, my friend was mowing one evening when his neighbor came over.
The guy nicely said, "OK, let's wrap it up...I'm ready to relax for the evening."
My confused friend answered, "What???"
"It's 8:30 at night and I'm ready to relax.  Shut the mower down."
"Ha ha...yeah right," my friend thought he was kidding.
"No, I'm serious.  It's 8:30.  Time to turn that off."

My friend is not shy in any way and nearly got into a fist fight with the man.  My cousin recently purchased a house in the same development, a mere 1/4 mile away.  His neighbor tromped through the yard, not as calmly, and started yelling at my cousin.  He informed my cousin that he's mowing all wrong.  He is not allowed to shoot any grass clippings into the neighbor's yard.  I'm not a landscaper, but I imagine that might be a difficult thing to do.  The man claimed that his entire yard is full of weeds because of how my cousin mows his grass.  He's never had weeds before and now his yard is covered in them.  Let me go ahead and mention that my cousin pays to have his grass treated and has no weeds himself.

I find is unreal that people think they can tell their neighbors when and how to mow their grass.  I've never really had "real" neighbors, since everyone I live by is related.  We have strangers across the street, but they've only caused such problems as barking dogs and a loud argument here and there.  Are most neighbors this picky?

My other cousin, who lives in between these other two men got yelled at by his neighbor for planting the wrong kind of grass when he built his house.  Let me state again that this is not a gated community full of $10 million homes.  It's an mid-upper scale allotment with teachers, policemen, and bankers.

I'd rather live in a less desirable neighborhood and be able to manage my grass however I want.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Question for YOU, My Friend...

The other day, Baby Girl asked me, "Mom, do you have any friends?"  That question kind of took me by surprise.
"Yes, I have friends!" I answered.
I started listing the people who popped into my mind whom I consider friends.
"Oh.  Who else?"
"Um..." I continued to list more people.
"Who else?"
I had run out of friends by this point.

Then I began over-analyzing this conversation, as I tend to do with so many things.  DO I have any friends?  Does anyone consider ME their friend?  Am I not working hard enough at having friends?

I answered myself that I'm just too busy with life to really have friends.  Of course, I consider Hubby my real best friend.  But who is next on the list?  I really like my sister-in-law.  She has two kids and is as busy as I am.  We don't hang out.  We talk, for 5 minute spurts every few days.  We see each other regularly, but I'm usually more excited to see the kids.  I have my running buddy that I see a couple times a week.  She's single and 10 years younger than I am, so we don't hang out other than to run.  I have my lifelong best friend, but being a mom occupies most of her time also.  There's several more here and there, but they all have reasons to not hang out too.

What is a friend?  Is it someone you have to spend time with?  If so, no...I don't have any friends.  Is it someone you can not hear from for a month or two, then pick up right in the middle of a conversation without skipping a beat?  If so, yes...I have dozens of friends.  Is it people you're connected to on Facebook?  (Ha!)  If so, I have 467.  :)

At this point in my life, I think I'm just content to have the second kind of friend.  Those select few people that I can text on occasion or have lunch with once a year.  They're the ones who have been around the longest and the ones who will probably stick around forever.

Then again, maybe I should host a party (something I haven't done in ages) and really have fun with some friends.

Let me leave you with one question-- Do you have any friends?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Happs

I don't know what part of the country (or world) you live in, but we're about to float away here in the Midwest!  Usually by this time of year, Hubby has parked the mower because the grass is brown and prickly.  Usually, the kids are playing water games in the backyard every day.  Usually, I wonder if I should water the grass to keep it green or if that's a silly waste of water.  Not this year.  Our town is flooding.  Our porch flooded.  We've lost power the past two nights because of thunderstorms.  This unlikely weather has made training for my half marathon very difficult!  I may start taking to wearing a shower cap everywhere I go.


My house is in a horrid state of disarray due to the recent Room Moving Projects.  I did finish the paint job in Son #1's new room and was going to take my After picture.  Before I turned around, he had already started filling it up!  Plans got put on hold because he left for church camp Monday.  It's a bit over 2 hours away, so I found a friend and made the hike down to the middle of nowhere.  I drove down, unloaded his stuff, and drove back.  He wouldn't even allow me to help him carry it into the dorm.  Last year, I set up his stuff, made his bunk, made his friend's bunk, and hung around for a half hour or so.  This year, he couldn't say goodbye quickly enough!


My little cousin offered to bring him home from camp Friday night, which makes me very happy.  He's 18 and very trustworthy.  Being the "big brother" he is to #1, he told him he won't bring him home at the end of the week if he doesn't get a date.  Ha!  A date at church camp consists of asking a girl to eat ice cream at the same table as you in a crowded cafeteria.  That's just fine with me.  Last night, my cousin sent me a text saying that #1 apparently has a ride home Friday.  Attached was a photo of him across the table from a very beautiful girl!  I had a hard time getting the grin off my face.


We had a bit of adventure over the weekend.  On Friday morning, Baby Girl woke up looking like this:

Friday afternoon, she looked like this:

It progressed to this:

She wasn't miserable, wasn't complaining, and didn't have a fever.  When asked if it hurt or itched, she was indecisive.  We assumed it was a bug bit on her eyelid.  I called the doctor and explained the situation.  I said I bought Benedryl, but it says only give to children under 6 with the advice of a doctor.  They looked up her weight and gave me the correct dosage.  I kept her on it every 6 hours (except for nighttime) until Sunday afternoon.  By Monday morning, she was completely normal.  It was a bit worrisome though!


Today, I'm hoping to muster the motivation to start on the next room in my project, which doesn't explain why I'm on the laptop blogging. I guess I just really felt the need to keep you all in the know.  I want to get all three rooms painted and moved around first, then I can start on making them look cute.  The extra toys, chairs, shoes, books, and shelves in the middle of my bedroom is getting to be a hazard.


OH- one more short story....the friend who rode down to camp with me asked to use my bathroom before we left.  Yikes!  I can't remember the last time my house looked this bad and she's not someone who comes over often.  I just gritted my teeth and told her to go on upstairs.  Afterward, I nearly threw up when I realized the mess and nastiness she saw.  Oh well...she's got 3 kids, so hopefully she still loves me!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Renovations in Process

I'm spending the day cleaning out Baby Girl's room in preparation for Son #1 to move in. I can't imagine why he doesn't want to keep the Bessie Pease Gutmann wallpaper that was originally hung for his nursery!  Here are some before/during shots:

I have a couple "helpers" who are actually much more of a hindrance!

The girls suddenly want to play with every toy and everything I'm packing up!  No, they haven't touched the baby bed and dolls for over a year, but today, they're all about baby dolls!  All the good toys are camping out in the hallway and in my room until they have a new home.  That little door on the right side of the room is an attic storage space.  It's packed to the insulation with stuff for a yard sale!  I hope I can actually get to having one this year!  Anyone with little kids would be highly in luck!

Can't wait to get this project done!  I'm on a roll right now!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Weekend Randomness

I mentioned a few posts back about my photo booth crashing.  My highly technical brother determined that one damaged cable was all we would have to replace to hopefully fix the problem.  I called Best Buy and Radio Shack, but neither carried the cable.  He found it online so I ordered it right away.  After more than a week, it was getting extremely close to my next event.  I tried calling the company I ordered from but they were closed for the day.  Our mail arrives early so I watched and waited.  No package.  I called the company back again and was told that the cable was on back order!  I had to work very hard to control my temper.  My job was the next day and I had a broken photo booth and a cable on back order.  I told the customer service representative that I should have been notified!  She said they emailed me.  I went back and checked all my emails.  No notification of back order.  Then I opened up the invoice they emailed me.  In very small font at the bottom of the email, it said that the item had been back ordered.  I didn't even read the email, I just viewed the attached invoice.  Don't you think a back order status deserves its own email?

Anyway, I called Hubby in a mild panic.  I asked him if he knew of any local computer stores I could call.  He said he was delivering to a big computer store in a bit and he would ask them.  So I provided him with the part number and crossed my fingers.  They actually had 2 in stock!  It was only $20 and it fixed the problem!  I exhaled for the first time in two weeks!  The booth is back up running and I've had several successful jobs since then!  Whew!


Another update:  we finally purchased airfare to New York City!  AirTran ran another special, this time for $49 each way!  The bad news, the dates of the special were past Hubby's vacation week.  They pick vacation for the following year in July, so we were forced to purchase the tickets blindly in hopes that he'll be able to secure the week we booked!  Yeah, that's just a bit nerve wracking!   

Last time we went to New York, I left my printed map and itinerary on the desk at home.  We more or less wandered the streets of Manhattan, looking for the best sights.  This time, I'm going all OCD on this trip!  I found a lovely site called Tripomatic.com that feeds my planning obsession.  You can choose all the things you want to do, organize them into days, and it maps them for you.  It even tells you how long it takes to walk from one activity to the next!  I LOVE that!  

Just in the middle of writing this post, I took a break and booked my hotel!  I was having a hard time deciding what to do, as we have another couple with us.  I didn't want to book something too shabby or they'd think I was an animal.  On the other hand, I didn't want to choose something too expensive, which is nearly impossible.  Hubby suggested checking out Groupon.  I did and found a deal!  We're booking  3 1/2 star hotel for the same price as the 1 star hotel I was leaning toward!  Ha!  Hopefully all that will work out!  I plan on calling the hotel in a day or so to confirm our booking so there's no problems when we arrive.


We had an absolutely perfect weekend!  Rain was forecast continually, so I was prepared to be bummed out.  We had our church picnic Sunday after church.  We got just a couple sprinkles and pleasantly cool weather the rest of the day.  Our July 4th picnic is usually sweltering and uncomfortable.  Afterward, my brother's family came over for pizza and fun.  Son #2 made us brownies.  He's becoming quite the baker.  I spent some time with my niece and nephew, whom I can't get enough of.  Saturday was filled with being lazy in the morning (my ultimate favorite), a birthday party in the afternoon, and a bit of shopping in the evening.


The shopping was for bedding for Big Sis.  I've been trying to get my life caught up enough to change around their rooms.  At bedtime prayer, Baby Girl says, "We hope we get to change our rooms..."  I think everyone is tired of me talking about it and ready for some action.  The boys will be split up and the girls will share the big room.  Son #1's room will be first.  But since Big Sis learned all 191 of those verses, I wanted to do something special for her.  I've been secretly looking for bedding for a while, unable to find anything I can afford.  If I'm going to redecorate 3 bedrooms, I surely can't spend $125 to $250 on a bedspread!  This is the "look" I'm going for (thanks to Pinterest), obviously adapted for a big girl room:

I managed to find bedding very similar at TJ Maxx and she said she loved it more than anything.  $39.  Score!  I also found her a darling little mirror that she couldn't live without at Hobby Lobby.  70% off!  Double score!  I can't wait to actually get started on these rooms.  I also want to incorporate a little bit of this look, without so many bright colors:

I'm planning on painting #1's room a light gray with a more industrial look.  I would love to frame architectural photography in black frames.  I'm thinking about taking my good camera to New York with me....good idea or bad?


What's randomly happening in your life right now???

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dinner Experiment - Day 3

I don't normally cook on Friday nights, so this was the last night of new dinner experiments for our family.  I decided on Fettuccine Alfredo.  Hubby neither likes fat pasta nor Alfredo sauce...so he thinks.  In a restaurant, he always orders angel hair.  When I make pasta, I always use thin spaghetti.  So, I already had one strike against me.

Hubby has only had Alfredo sauce once and didn't like it.  At all.  I made it from a friend's recipe, which had a cream cheese base.  It was way too thick and I didn't care for it either.  I actually thought I didn't like Alfredo sauce for quite some time.  When I went to a family style rehearsal dinner, I tried a bit of everything.  Turns out, the fettuccine was amazing!  Since then, I've had it here and there and have always liked it.  We just had one bad experience.  The difference is, I'm willing to try it again while Hubby holds a grudge.

I knew it was a thinner sauce I liked, not the thick, cream cheese sauce.  So I decided upon a standard Parmesan, Romano, butter sauce.  It also called for a cup of heavy cream.  I thought I could use whole milk instead, since I had it.  Hmmm....probably a bad decision.  The sauce didn't thicken.  I ended up making a roux on the side with flour and butter and adding it to the sauce.  That actually made it perfect.  Also, instead of buying a block of Romano and a block of Parmesan, I bought a bag of Kraft shredded Italian blend.  It had Parmesan, Romano, asiago, mozzarella, and provolone, I think.  I was worried about using all those extra cheeses, but I actually liked it.  I used a bit less than a cup.

My verdict:  Delicious and very easy!  Hubby's verdict:  OK.  The Kids:  Thumbs Down.  Then again, most meals are thumbs down for them.  I'll make it once in a while, but it's too fattening to make regularly...especially if I use cream like the recipe states!

Fettuccine Alfredo
1 lb. fettuccine
2/3 C butter
1 C heavy cream
dash garlic salt
1/2 C grated Romano
1/3 C grated Parmesan
salt & pepper, to taste

Cook pasta; drain.
In a large saucepan, melt butter into cream over low heat.  Add salt, pepper, and garlic.  Stir in cheese over medium heat until melted.
Add pasta to sauce.  Serve immediately.

Next time, I might try it with chicken.  The kids would really hate that!

Also, I noticed in the comments of the recipe, most people said there was too much pasta and not enough sauce.  So I ended up using about 3/4 of the box of pasta and it was just about right.  I even had some leftover for lunch the next day.  I served it with garlic bread.