~my thoughts about life~

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Out of Mouth of Babes

Holding Baby Girl today, I commented on how skinny and tiny she was.

Me:  "You're too skinny.  You need to eat more food."

Her:  "If I eat a lot of food, I'll get fat and have to ride a scooter."

I think she discovered the meaning of life. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Am the Little Red Hen

I had a difficult day yesterday that turned out to have a pretty happy ending.

The part that made it difficult was the unreliability of other people.  Do you ever feel like other people take care of your helpfulness and no one is willing to step out and help you?  The Little Red Hen would understand what I'm going through. 

The first thing to throw me was when a friend called last minute and asked me to pick up her daughter from school.  She got stuck at work and couldn't get there in time.  I absolutely didn't have time to do that, but I surely wasn't going to make her daughter stand out in the cold for 40 minutes.  So I drove her across town, which made me ten minutes late to pick up Big Sis.  That's the kind of person I am.  Yes, I ended up putting out the teacher and my daughter in the meantime, but I had to step up and help when necessary.

Last night was a big event I organize every other year.  I teach all teenage girls in my club, and their mothers, how to make homemade pies.  It's a huge ordeal and it's expensive.  I have to haul trunk loads of stuff up to the church, sterilize and cover tables, wash dishes that have been stored for two years, print recipes, and instruct the class.  Each mother is supposed to work with her daughter, listening to my instruction while helping her with technique.  Every year, there are moms who can't make it.  I get stand-in moms who come out and team up with a motherless girl.  It seems like those helpers bail out on me every time.  I ended up calling my lifelong BFF and asking her to fill in last minute.  She was a peach who jumped in to help, but I needed more help.  You would not believe the number of people who flat out told me no.  People just aren't willing to help any more.  I never did find enough help and we had to make do with what we had.

I asked Son #1 to go to the church to help me set up tables.  He pitched one of his teenage hissy fits and I was in no mood to argue with him.  I stormed out the door and did it myself.  That task resulted in me carrying 8' tables up a flight of stairs.  No fun.  Thankfully, I didn't drop any of them or hurt myself, which I thought was likely to happen.  Finally, someone gave Hubby word what I was doing and he stormed right up behind me and yelled at me for doing it myself.  He helped with the last couple tables.  I vented my frustrations to him, using a word I rarely use, "People suck," I said. 

I did have one helper show up early.  She was a tremendous help, as was one mother who was somewhat early.  The two daughters of the early mom fought and screamed at each other, which made me a nervous wreck.

The instruction went pretty well.  Of course, there were the people who didn't listen to anything I said and messed up.  We end up wasting a lot of ingredients because people don't pay attention.  When it was over, there were the people who left without cleaning up after themselves.  It blows my mind!  I found one of our bowls filled with apple chunks and juice that someone just left for other people to take care of.  There was flour and juice all over the floor.  There were Crisco covered measuring cups that no one even tried to clean.  I looked at the giant mess and almost cried.  One of my helpers stood around, watching everyone else clean up.  She spent most of the time texting.  Yes, this is an adult.  I couldn't quite figure out why she was still there....moral support, maybe? 

Then there are the angels....those who stay until the very end.  One in particular, named Elizabeth, whom I barely know, was one of those angels.  She's a woman whose daughter started coming to church and she really fought her about it.  She wouldn't attend with her and really limited the daughter's attendance to certain events.  Maybe a year ago, the mom started coming a bit.  Now, she comes every service and is nothing but a joy!  I really developed respect and appreciation for her last night.  I plan to get her a small gift and write her a note of deep thanks. 

Then the icing on top of the cake was 14-year old Abby.  As she was leaving, she turned to me and said, "Best night ever!"  It's reasons like that.  Happy ending indeed!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Organizing The Crap Out Of My House

I fell behind with organization and not-so-important household chores sometime during our busy summer. I still haven't quite recovered from the mess I got myself in. I blame it on the huge undertaking that was moving the kids' rooms around. That project unhinged several related projects and I became overwhelmed. When I get in that big of a mess, I tend to step back, take a breath, then procrastinate ever finishing. The first big side project stemming from the renovation was the yard sale overflow. I dug tons of stuff out from every nook & cranny in our house. It all went into the garage, waiting to be organized, cleaned, & priced for sale. Some if it never made it to the yard sale. I just ran out of time. That junk lived in my garage for over a month while I parked outside. Finally, I broke down and did nothing else until the mess was taken care of. The result is that our garage is now cleaner than it has been in years and the local clothing shelter got a huge donation from the She Says kids. Win/win.

I felt so much better completing that project that I started taking on new projects that have been hanging over my head forever. Some of them are so big that they make me want to hide under the covers and cry. So- I'm trying to take one itty-bitty project at a time. This week has been the week of projects. I've decided to tackle each day whatever is getting on my nerves the most at that very moment.

Yesterday, I organized my coupons, which was supposed to be a start to cleaning up my desk. I've been kicking booty lately with coupons & I'm quite proud of my achievements. That means I have coupons coming out my ears though. I brought the coupon binder out of retirement, removed the coupons that expired in April, and filled it with all kinds of current lovelies. I'm pumped now and ready to tackle some serious savings!!

Wednesday, I moved The Box. The Box has been sitting in the upstairs hallway causing a hazard to any person who needs to get through. It was ridiculous and I will never admit to you how long it sat there. It was falling apart because of being kicked, tripped over, and filled past maximum occupancy. I just didn't know what to do with it or the stuff that was taking residence inside it. I ended up carrying it downstairs two flights to its new home in the basement. No, that's not the best solution, but it works for now. Plus, I don't have to worry about one of the children killing themselves in the middle of the night. I also organized two kitchen cupboards that day. They were the kind of cupboards that housed things I hadn't seen in so long, because I couldn't get to the back of them. I ended up finding a basket full of baby head bows that I hand washed & passed down to a friend expecting her first baby. That was a definite feel-good moment, although it was bittersweet. 

Tuesday, we got our first snow. That prompted me to clean out the coat closet. I hate that chore, but it must be done every year. During the summer, the hats & gloves tend to party and move all over the place. I like to keep a segregated closet where hats are not allowed to interact with gloves or scarves. It's done now and I was able to check another thing off my list. 

Monday turned out to be sock matching day. Hubby & the boys have been complaining lately that their sick supply hasn't been lasting from one laundry day to the next. I sat on the basement floor and matched for a long time. It was shocking to see the size of the pile of sock balls I created. But the better news was what else I found. I had been missing an adorable owl t-shirt since summer. It was new and I only wore it two or three times. The last time I remember wearing it was to Big Sis' Field Day at the end of May. Ridiculous. It was buried under the unmatched socks, thanks to one of my sons who had laundry as a chore one day. They are so lazy & will do whatever possible to avoid work. Sometimes, their avoidance of work takes more energy than the original chore. Who is raising these people?  The bad news is now the shirt is too big, due to my recent loss of 22 lbs.!

So, the moral of the story is, whenever feeling overwhelmed, take one small thing at a time until you start seeing a difference. The end results make you feel so good & you end up energized to complete the rest of the tasks. Yes, it may take until I'm 97, but I'm going to get this place clean & organized. Wish me luck on my journey!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


When you have pretty girls, they're going to have boyfriends.  Try explaining that to my overprotective husband without him losing all restraint.

A boy from school decided to make Big Sis his girlfriend.  She agreed.  I tried not to make it a big deal because, even at this young age, I want her to feel comfortable discussing relationships with me. I would have rather died than to talk to my mom about a boy I liked.  The notes this boy sent her were enough to cause a serious rise in blood pressure (in her father)!  Even though he told her he loved her more than he would probably love any other person, he dumped her after two weeks.  I asked her what she said when he did it.  She told me, "I just said OK."  She demonstrated by shrugging her shoulders.  That's my girl...don't let them loser guys get you down!  He's already moved on to a new chick.  Playa.  It's probably because she told him no when he asked to hold her hand.  Again, that's my girl!!!

Baby Girl has had a boyfriend for a year or more now.  It's her brother's best friend.  He's 7 years older than she is and is as sweet as sugar to her.  If we ever take him anywhere with us, he holds her hand as we walk through the parking lot.  He's never acted embarrassed of this little girl who's smitten with him.  She tells everyone that she loves Brevan.  At church last weekend, I asked her if Clayton was her new boyfriend.  She's been showing him a lot of attention and asks to sit with and play with him.  She replied, "I have lots of boyfriends...Brevan, Dad, Jesus...lots of boyfriends!"  Good, I thought, as long as Dad and Jesus are listed in there, we're going to be just fine!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Life Updates

It seems like my blog has turned into more of a monthly synopsis of everything that's been happening lately rather than a daily update.  No, I'm not OK with that, but I guess that's the way it's gotta be for now.

Last week was rather crazy.  It started off with a doctor appointment and minor procedure for me and Destination Imagination for Son #2.  That left me feeling crappy for the rest of the day with a bit of recovering.  Tuesday was Son #1's first philharmonic rehearsal and parent meeting.  His skill has really improved over the last two years because he said the music was too easy for him.  He's just not quite up to symphony level yet.  Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday consisted of a kids' revival at church.  I am so glad for the emphasis our church puts on the children, but the whiner in me was not happy about having to attend three nights in a row.  It turned out to be very nice and the kids had a great time.  Wednesday also had another meeting; Friday was a belated birthday lunch with a friend and last-minute engagement photo shoot. Saturday was packed full with errands that had been put off for far too long.  I hate those kinds of weeks.

On a positive note, autumn here is the prettiest it's been in a couple years.  I'm really enjoying it.  It's about over now, but I feel like I've soaked in as much beautiful color as possible.  The photo of the tree above was taken on my shoot last week.  I may frame it.

Remember my trip to New York?  I took some awesome shots that I can't wait to frame.  I've done nothing to make that happen.  I need to buy some serious frames, but I'm way to cheap to do so.  I actually still have one of those prepaid Visa cards that someone gave me as a gift.  I need to just take the plunge and spend a couple hundred dollars on nice frames.  Maybe my next day off will involve a trip to Hobby Lobby.  (Who loves that place???)

This week is almost as busy as last week, yet I'm neglecting my filthy house for some relaxing blog time.  It's that part of my month where I just want to sit here and complain.  I know you all feel my pain.  I had crazy grocery shopping Monday, yet I saved some serious money with coupons!  Three kids had dentist appointments and the day ended with some complaining about the ridiculous darkness, Destination Imagination, and my bi-weekly youth group meeting.  Yesterday was a tile cleaning job and babysitting two of my cousins.  Their mom and dad just sold their house and have to already be out Friday.  So I'm telling myself that things could be much crazier!

The craziest part right now is some minor health issues I'm facing.  Most of it's womanly and I know you don't want to hear about that.  But in case you do, I'll speak vaguely.  My least favorite Aunt Flo starts her visit lightly and early each time.  She hangs around for far too long, which my doctor says is not a good thing.  We need breaks from those annoying aunts, don't we?  Her intensity has caused me to become anemic, requiring high doses of iron.  By the time she finally packs up and leaves, I only get two weeks or less before she returns again.  Last week after my procedure, I had some extra Aunt Flo time.  Her visit took me right into the effects of the procedure.  Then, she decided to show up early again.  So, I've been "with her" for about a month straight.  It's getting old, people.  I have a more serious procedure coming up soon, though it's yet to be scheduled.  This procedure should hopefully stop all future visits from this unwanted visitor.  I'm hoping and praying that's the case.  My four C-Sections could pose a problem, so I'm hoping all goes well.  Hopefully they'll call soon with an appointment.

I have my appointment with the endocrinologist in a couple weeks.  I can already tell this office is going to be difficult to work with.  This doctor has great reviews.  Why does it always seem that the best doctors have the worst office staff?  The quack down the street has the greatest office staff, even though the doctor doesn't seem competent enough to diagnose a cold.  That's how it goes, I guess.

I've goofed off long enough today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What's For Dinner?

In my recent search to find new meals to make for my family, I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest.  While Hubby is not a fan of Alfredo sauce, I thought I could try this homemade version and maybe, just maybe he would like it.  I figured it was a long shot with the kids, but I'm tired of the same few things for dinner and I needed another option.

Disclaimer:  I found this recipe BEFORE I set out on my venture to lose weight.  This recipe does not fall in line with any type of weight loss program!  In fact, I made it for the second time a week ago and I think I gained about 3 lbs. after eating it!  (I also had a Snickers that day.  Hmmm....)  BUT, it's heavenly!  I called my cousin over to taste it and she nearly melted on the floor (melted, I guess, because of the amount of CHEESE in it)!!!  My cousin requested that I make it this weekend for our Bridesmaid planning get-together (AKA Girls' Night In).  Done and done.

The author of the recipe called it Chicken Alfredo Roll-Ups.  I refer to it as Alfredo Lasagna.  Either way, it's delectable!  (Her picture is better looking than my cell phone shot.)

The Ingredients:
½ cup butter
2 ounces cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream (or substitute half and half)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
½  tsp. fresh minced garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
⅔ cup parmesan cheese

9 lasagna noodles
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
garlic salt
3 cups shredded Mozzarella, or cheese of your choice

The Process:
In a medium to large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add fresh minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the cream cheese and whisk to smooth and melted. Whisk in the heavy cream. Season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until sauce thickens, around 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and when melted, remove from heat.

While sauce is simmering, boil lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. Then, lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with a paper towel.

Spread about 2 Tbs. alfredo sauce over each noodle. Sprinkle oregano and garlic salt on top of sauce. Take 1/9 of the shredded chicken and spread it out evenly over each noodle. Sprinkle with mozzarella. To roll up, start at one end and roll the noodle over the toppings. You will need to lift the noodle a little to prevent squishing out the inside ingredients while rolling.

Place the roll-ups in the pan, one by one, seam-side down so they don't come undone. Once they are all in the pan, pour the remaining alfredo sauce over the top. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted on top.

My Notes:
I used half & half and it tasted just great. Real cream is just way too fattening. Next time, I'm going to use light cream cheese also. I omitted the pepper and oregano. I used one clove of garlic instead of the minced garlic and garlic salt. I only used 2 C mozzarella and it was perfect. There is no need for another full cup of cheese. Also, I think I'll cut down the butter to 3/4 of a stick, as it was just a tad greasy.  

We had leftover fried chicken from a family dinner. I brought home 3 breasts and de-boned them. That worked out perfectly and I didn't have to take the time to cook chicken!  

Also, in both of my experiences making this dish, it took way longer than 15 minutes for the sauce to thicken. So if you're impatient or in a hurry, plan for extra time to thicken the sauce.

I hope you try this recipe...it is so good and I think you'll love it!