Friday, April 29, 2011

The Best Advice I Ever Received About Kids

I was barely 21 when I began my student teaching.  Nervousness crept over my entire body as I watched the clock tick closer and closer to 8:40am.  The time the little second graders would file through the door. About one minute until I set my eyes upon the most precious faces, my mentor teacher turned to me and said, "Make sure you notice details about these kids.  They appreciate it."  For some reason that little tidbit of information stuck with me. 

We all like to be noticed (unless you're me and the slightest bit of recognition brings upon an instant sweat fest). Being noticed. Being recognized.  It feels good.  Why would it be any different for kids? 

Throughout the seven years of teaching, I paid attention.  I paid attention to shoes, clothes, haircuts, scrapes, bruises, glasses, fingernails, and everything in between.  Each morning my students barrelled through the door, I'd search for the slightest change and comment on it.  I felt if I noticed the little things, they would feel a closeness with me.  Honestly, some of the kids weren't used to someone paying attention to the details of their life which broke my heart every single time.  I had the closest relationship with those kiddos.

I truly believe my success in teaching relied heavily on noticing the details in my students.  Since I took the time to care about more than their academics, they took time to care about their academics.  I cherished the relationship I had with each of my students.  They were created so uniquely and so special.  I wanted to be the one to recognize their gifts.  When I stopped teaching this was the hardest chapter to close.  I wasn't going to be there to notice the little things in kids who needed noticing.

What I didn't realize was how important noticing details in my own kids would replace what I was losing.  My own kids need to be praised and recognized for every little accomplishment.  From dressing themselves to cleaning up their own mess, it's my job to notice them.  So here's your challenge for this weekend.  Pay close attention to your kids.  Look for those little things your kids do and don't wait for them to show you.  You be the first to notice and make a big fuss over it.  It's the best way to build your relationship.  Your kids will blossom from it.  In fact, turn the comment section into our own little bragfest on our kids.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crock Pot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Last Saturday we went to church which started at 5:00pm.  It was too early to eat dinner before we left and pushing our normal dinner well over an hour after returning home.  I needed something that would be ready after church.  Immediately, I was thankful for 3 things:  my husband, my crockpot, and my delay start button on my oven.

Seeing how stressed I was about trying to throw something together for dinner, Steven informed me he wanted BBQ Chicken Sandwiches.  Really?  That's really easy to throw together when we get home...start the grill, throw the chicken on, wait for 30 minutes while it cooks, tell my children to eat their fingernails because they're starving, then serve dinner.  I thought he'd done lost his mind.  Then I thought of my beautiful crock pot.  Actually it's a boy, so he's handsome.  His name is Bob.  Anyway, Bob was calling my name...

"Hello Amanda.  Use me.  I can help you achieve your goals.  I can cook your chicken so tenderly.  I will have it awaiting your arrival."

He had me at hello.  He had me at hello.  I whipped that bad boy out, threw in my 2 frozen chicken breasts (yes, frozen), and added my homemade BBQ sauce on top.  Set the crock pot for 6 hours and that was it.  True love was born.  I think Big Bertha is jealous.

Here's the specifics of my BBQ sauce and my o' so hard crock pot chicken...

BBQ Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

(Taste and retaste.  I normally don't measure this out, so I'm completely guessing here.)

Directions for Chicken...
  • Place 2 frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup chicken broth over chicken.
  • Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper and salt over chicken.
  • Pour BBQ sauce over chicken.
  • Let cook 4-6 hours until chicken is done.
  • Use two forks to shred chicken.
  • Serve on broiled hamburger buns and pickles.
That's it.  It's Amanda's quick guide to making her husband's dinner dreams come true.  Now you see why he puts up with me, right?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Growing Pains

Growing pains.  I've got them.  I used to think it growing pains were for little guys, but nope.  I've developed a bad case as an adult.  You see, I've got this pain in my chest and it's growing.

Yesterday I turned in Little Man's application for our public school's Pre-K program.  It hurts.  Steven and I know it's time to send him, but I don't want to let go.  Sending him to school was not a light decision.  We did a lot of looking into programs public and private.  When it came down to it our local public school was the best fit for him right now.  There's a teeny tiny part of me that is very excited for him, but I'm a selfish mommy. I want my little smoochie-poo to stay little forever.  And ever.  And ever. 

To go along with my somber mood today, I put together a little collage of my Little Man.  My boy.  My precious little gift.  I love him so very much.  Thank goodness I'll still have Little Miss and Chunky Monkey to keep me busy.  I don't know what I'll do when they leave me.  Hmmm...maybe a third child is a great idea after all!
Tomorrow I'll have a new recipe for you, but no promises.  I might have to throw together a collage of Little Miss and Chunky Monkey.  I may still be emotional tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Clubbing and Awkward Family Photos

It's true.  We went clubbing on Easter Sunday.  Being the rebels we are, we hit up church on Saturday night so we wouldn't miss out on the Sunday morning clubbing.  Country Clubbing that is.  What?   You actually thought we went dancing on Easter Sunday?  What kind of heathens do you think we are?  Wait. Don't answer that question.  I don't want to know.

Chunky Monkey's parents are new members at one of the country clubs in our area, and they invited us to Sunday Brunch.  Just the thought of brunch at a country club made me want to only talk in my uppity British accent.  For every one's sake, I didn't.  However, I did teach Lindsay's cousin's little girl how to drink at The Club.  Pinkies up, ladies. 

{I am the master at teaching useless knowledge}

The brunch was really yummy.  I'm not sure if it was yummy because I was in a country club, or if it was yummy because I didn't cook it.  There's really not enough time in the day to ponder which is which. 

After consuming enough calories to hold me over for a week, we went to the balcony to take some rainy day pics.  I'm not sure if you've ever visited the site Awkward  Family Photos or not, but I'm thinking of sending in our Easter family photo...
{Hello Debbie Downers}

And then there's this one...
{Is that a choke hold or a hug?}

I think I'll cherish these photos more than the perfectly posed ones.  This is a true indication how our family lives.  We lead a crazy, crazy life and we find complete humor in it.

And because I love seeing my kids love on each other...

{Aren't they sweet?}

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Monday

I hope you all had a great Easter.  We did.  The best yet.  I love my family.  Here's our menu for this week...

Monday-Poor Man's Beef Stroganoff, The Bread, and Peas
Tuesday-Mushroom and Swiss Sliders with Chips and Pineapple Salsa
Wednesday-Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Broccoli Cheese Casserole, Fruit Salad
Thursday-Broiled Fish, Cheesy Biscuits, and Green Bean Casserole
Friday-Chicken Parmigiana, Roasted Garlic Dip with French Bread, and Salad
Saturday-Dinner out
Sunday-Club Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Chips

I hope your week continues to be blessed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Favorite Prank...Ever

Steven and I are both infamous for pulling pranks on each other.  From pouring ice cold water on each other during relaxing showers to hiding in discreet locations only to jump out and scare the other person until just a little bit of wee-wee comes out.  We're just talking dribbles here, not full on pee-pee pants.  What?  TMI?  Sorry.

Whether we pee or don't pee our pants has little to do with this post.  However, pulling pranks has a lot to do with it.  It started last week when Steven and I were watching some show on pranks.  Steven says he has a good one up his sleeves for me.  Ha ha ha ha ha.  Really?  I wasn't laughing, but I am a good sport.  Steven on the other hand gets mad.  Real mad.  That's why I have a really good prank up my sleeve for him.  I just haven't decided when I'm going to land it on him.  Good thing he doesn't read this blog.  He's got something coming...and soon!  Don't worry, I'll get in on film.  I might have to immediately turn the camera on me to film my own death.  He's going to kill me.

For now, I'll leave you with my all time favorite prank.  The Buttered Floor.  I can't help but crack up every single time I see someone bite it hard.

Happy Good Friday!  May your Easter Weekend be blessed!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Two Holidays, One Day

Coincidentally Earth Day and Good Friday reside together this year.  That brings about two Public Service Announcements (PSA's).  Lucky you!

Earth Day PSA

Earth Day has been quite the event the last few years with the whole Go Green movement.  Although we don't live a 'green' lifestyle, we do live a 'free' lifestyle.  Free as in free-bies.  So here's the run down of the free stuff you can grab on Earth Day (4/22)...

Starbuck's:  Bring in your reusable coffee mug for a free Cup O' Joe.

Origin's: Bring in this form AND your current face wash for a free full sized bottle of their facewash.  It just so happens both Steven and my's facewash is empty.  Happy, happy, joy, joy!!!

Disney Store:  Bring in 5 plastic bags in exchange for a free cutie pie reusable Mickey bag.

Steven is off work for Good Friday, so here's our freebie day...

Load up three kids and swing by Starbucks.  Each donning our own super cool reusable travel mugs.  After our loading up on caffeine, we'll take a short drive to our local mall.  Once inside the gloriously overpriced stores, we will stay focused on our main goal.  Leaving with free stuff.  This could be a real trial considering we're taking 3 kids into the Disney Store. Do you think they'll buy that it's a museum instead of a store?  Looky, looky, but no touchy, touchy.  Hey!  I think I just made a new motto.

Good Friday PSA

It's no secret that I think my church (Church on the Move) rocks.  I do.  It's the best.  We love it there.  Love the people.  Love our pastor. Love the kid's program.  Love, love, love.  Since I love my church so very, very much it's only natural that I would invite you to one of the many services being offered.  The super cool part, if you are a traditionalist there are 2 Sunday services, but if you live on the edge like we do, there are other options.  We don't really live on the edge.  Unless you call going to church on Saturday night living on the edge.  Nevermind.  I'm losing you here...

Here are the service times:  Friday            7pm
                                          Saturday 5 & 7pm
                                          Sunday  9 & 11pm

Hey, if you hit up the Earth Day freebies or my church you might just see me.  You may not believe it, but I'm even more effective at sucking out your braincells in person.  I'm just that awesome!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Settle

I don't see a way out.  We settle.

I'm not sure I can find something better.  We settle.

It's the best I can do.  We settle.

I'm not sure I can pull this off.  We settle.

I really want to do this, but I there's no way to get it done.  We settle.

We settle.  We settle.  We settle.

Maybe I'm only speaking from my own experiences here, but I have a feeling it's human nature to settle.  It's in our nature to cut ourselves short.  It's in our nature to doubt our abilities.  It's in our nature to see what we can't do instead of what we could do.  Is it just my nature here?

Let me rephrase that...

Was it in my nature?  I can recall so many times I settled because my little mind couldn't wrap around a solution to whatever I was facing.  I didn't see a way to quit my job.  I didn't see a way to move into a larger house.  I didn't see a way to reach other people.  I didn't see my place in this world.  All of these things crossed my mind.  Then I started getting serious about losing the focus of me, and putting the focus in my relationship with God. 

Now when I come against something that doesn't allow me to see a humanly way to fix it, I focus on what God can do.  Since He can do anything, it relieves my tension.  Suddenly, I'm not settling anymore.  I'm hoping for something big.  A lot of times the answer is small, but the result is big.  Here's a case in point.

Since quitting my job two years ago, we've lived on a pretty tight budget.  Our entertainment budget went way down.  Steven and I were completely okay with that.  Okay until we wanted our kids to become involved in physical activities. I didn't see a way this was possible.  I could only see the amount it was going to cost to put two kids in a sport, and the money wasn't there to do it.  I was about to settle, and accept that we wouldn't be able to do sports this season. 

Thank goodness I didn't!  Instead of settling, I prayed.  I just asked God for a way the kids would be able to participate without breaking the bank.  The answer came within a month. 

A former cheerleader I coached emailed and asked if I would be willing to teach a few gymnastics classes during the week.  I was interested.  I love working with kids and I love gymnastics.  I called the director.  After getting the details I asked if it were possible for me to work in place of my kids tuition.  Her answer..."The kids make one class each for free if you are a teacher." 

It's been almost a year now that I've worked at Almighty Gymnastics.  The kids love it.  They're learning the basics of every sport...balance, coordination, strength, flexibility...and I get to keep my paycheck.  Better than that, I've had an opportunity to sow seeds in other boys and girls that are in my classes.  A double blessing.

So before you're about to settle.  Stop.  Ask for help.  You'll get an answer.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

I can attest that this verse is true.  If you've got a burning desire in your heart that's pure.  It's there for a reason.  Don't settle!  There's something big awaiting you.  Now, go enjoy your day.  Expect great things.  Over and out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Go Getters

There are some weekends we relax. Rarely, but it happens.  We usually jam pack our weekends with family time and projects.  This last weekend's project turned into a two day outdoor marathon.  It all started with my idea to put landscaping in the backyard.  Previously we had grass, and when I say grass I mean immaculate grass.  It was pretty, but my heart longed for a tree and some dimension. 

Poor Steven, he knows when my heart longs for something it usually means his muscles will long for something else...Icy Hot.  You would think after 8 years of marriage, he would turn and run the other way, but he likes rough work.  I think he should have been a farmer.  After all, he does have the brute strength for working the land. 

If I had doubted his ability to work the land, I would have been reassured on Saturday.  As I dragged the family to the backyard on a chilly Saturday morning, Steven grabbed his shovels and began to shovel up his beloved grass.  He carefully sectioned the grass into sod like pieces and then shoveled out the root so he could transplant it to my father-in-law's yard.  At one point he asked if I could get him a machete.  I didn't get one.  I wasn't sure of his intention in using the machete.  Was it for me or the grass?  I didn't want to find out.

After an hour of sod work, we began leveling and mixing is some good nutrient rich soil with the dirt.  Then the planting began.  I would like to call it a Plant-a-Thon.  I wish now I would have asked for sponsors and then broadcasts our acheivements along the way.  You would have been impressed, and I would have been rich.  Here's the Plant-a-Thon recap...
  • Two bushes my neighbor just ripped out and had in trash bags.  I about died.  The bushes retail for $30 each.  I blame this on their youthfulness.  So young.  So naive.  I'm so thankful.  I just saved myself SIXTY BUCKS!
  • Three Hostas from my grandparents Springfield, MO.  They survived the 3 hour car ride.
  • One Flowering Plum Tree.
  • Two Creeping Phlox.
  • One Tomato plant.
  • One bunch Cilantro.
  • One bunch Chives.
  • Two bunches of Parsley.
  • One bunch Greek Oregano.
  • One bunch Thyme.
  • {Patiently awaiting Steven putting in rock as the border instead of edging.}
  • A container full of Impatients.
  • One flat of Begonias.
  • {Peek-a-boo!  There's me in the window.  Slightly creepy.}
  • Rows and rows of Monkey Grass (From G-ma's and G-pa's).
  • {My Pansies survived the winter.  I have an issue with ripping out living flowers. 
    Guess I'll wait until they kick the bucket before I replace them with Begonias.}
  • Layed 3 bags of mulch.

Total cost: $64 (Including 2 bags of Tree and Shrub mix, and 2 bags of container potting soil)

Since we had set aside around $500 for this project, I'd like to call this Plant-a-Thon a success!

BUT, we're not done yet.  Steven and I still had some gumption left in us.  Gumption or stupidity...I'm not sure which.  After getting the backyard how I wanted it, I looked over at our pathetic patio chairs.  Then I thought of that black spray paint can sitting in a closet.  I put the two together and I am a happy woman.

{My Summer reading spot.}
I was impressed with my spray painting ability.  As I was cleaning up our mess from the day, I walked right passed the window pane.  Darn it!  It got two coats of paint as well.  However, I'm still not done with the dang thing.  Maybe next weekend...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Monday and My Secret Revealed

Last Friday I had a little secret.  Very few people knew.  I kept it under wraps for a couple of reasons. 

Reason #1:  If I was a total flop, I wouldn't have to confess to too many people.

Reason #2:  If I was a total flop, I wouldn't have to confess to too many people.

Okay, so there was only reason.  Thankfully, everything went very well.  I did sweat profusely, but nothing a cardigan, and gobs of deoderant couldn't handle.  Here was my secret...

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to speak at a women's event at Family Church.  I was asked to share my financial testimony and then how couponing can help you save big.  I never thought I would ever do something like this.  Public speaking (in front of adults) makes me nervous.  Like, totally nervous.  However, before I even received the call, I had a premonition that I was going to be asked to step out of my comfort zone.  In my own little quiet time I was told to do it.  Deep down I didn't want to, but I've learned when God asks you to do something, you do it.  Period.

Thankfully, I listened. I met some amazing women, and got to spend an evening at an awesome church.  I didn't fall on my face, and I think I actually convinced a few women that couponing is not so crazy weird.  It was a great night.  So thank you Family Church for asking me to step out of my little world, because I had a blast!

Now for the menu this week...

Monday-Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with Grilled Onions and Peppers, and The Bread
Tuesday-Hamburgers with Pepperoni Pasta Salad
Wednesday-Fried Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes, Corn (A perfectly great artery clogging meal)
Thursday-Mexican Casserole, Arroz Con Gandules, Corn Saute
Friday-Dinner Out
Saturday-Fish Tacos with Trees and Raisins
Sunday-Easter Dinner @ my mama's!

If you're new stopping by, thanks for visiting!  I hope this menu helps you start saving.
Have a blessed week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Secret

Today's post is another shorty guy.  Partly because I have a massive eye headache.  The kind that is right behind your eye socket.  I loathe those.  That's not the complete reason for a short post.  The real reason lies within a secret.  A secret that I may or may not share on Monday. 

I have an 'activity' to do tonight, and I need to prepare and put on the final touches.  It's something I have never ever done before, and something I never ever thought I would do.  Nonetheless, I've already committed.  We'll just see if I can actually pull this off without mounds and mounds of sweat beads forming under my armpits.

However I do feel I must leave you with something show stopping.  Ya' know, 'cause it's Friday and all.  So I'll leave you with my show stopping to do list this weekend.  I know.  Contain yourself. 
  • Dig out the grass my husband has worked so hard to get just perfect to put in a flower bed in the back yard.
  • Plant 4 shrubs I rescued from my neighbors trash bags.  Freebies...I love 'em.
  • Transplant hostas and monkey grass to our flower bed from my grandparents.
  • Paint the window pane black. 
  • Paint the window pane black.  Again.
  • Paint the window pane black.  Again.  It's going to take lots of coats.
  • Sand parts of the window pane to show a rustic look.  Seriously.  Why do I go to the trouble?
  • Plan a Sunday morning outing for the kids...probably a Bass Pro visit.
I'm thinking this might be a little too ambitious.  So maybe we'll get the flower bed done, but for sure the kids will get their fun family time.  That's a must.

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

There's a Reason

There's a reason why I don't do DIY (Do It Yourself) projects.  I love the idea. I like to get creative.  I do not have the time.  If given a choice to play with the kids or work out in the garage on a project, I'll choose the kids everytime.

This is precisely why I have had an old window pane in my garage since February.  F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y!  I even have all the supplies to complete what is floating in my mind.  I just haven't carved out enough time yet. 

I have made progress. By progress, I mean I've sanded, and then Steven re-sanded because he said my sanding job was "Stinky", then I painted two primer coats.  So after almost 2 months it went from this...

{Steven re-sanding.  What a man!}

To this...


And that my friends is it.  That's all that's been done.  I hope, emphasis on hope, to get the frame painted black this weekend.  Consequently, I also want to put in some ornamental grass, and a flower bed in the backyard.  The gardening will probably win out.  Don't lose heart though, I'll get my DIY posted.  I may be 80 when it happens, but it will happen.  Until then you should just keep checking for the next 49 years.  How's that for optimism?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It Was a Poopy Day

We had a busy, busy day yesterday.  Busy with all kids of fun stuff.  Fun stuff like playing at the park for an hour and a half, only to come inside for a quick lunch and naps.  When the kids woke up they found me reading on the back porch, so they marched right out to resume playing.  After watering the flowers, the kids got their suits on and played in the sprinkler.  That's when the poop happened.

Don't worry, I don't have any pictures.  I've already lived through this once, so typing this out is like reliving a nightmare.  Feel free to find complete humor in this story, because I would be laughing hysterically if it happened to you.  Except it didn't.  It happened to me, and I'm not laughing.

It all began when Little Miss told me she needed to go potty.  Looking down at her grass covered feet, I knew there was no way I was going to let her traipse through the house just to pee.  We moved to the side of the house and I held her up as she tinkled.  Five minutes later she asks to go potty again.  I specifically asked her if she needed to pee or poo.  She was adament that she only needed to pee.  I believed her.  As I'm holding her the second time all I see are little dribbles here and there.  Right when I start to set her on her feet, she starts screaming.  Then I see it.  'It' being her poo.  Yep, two little droppings hit the grass.

It gets worse. 

I asked Little Miss to hold it for just a second as I ran her in the house to put her on the potty so she could finish her business.  As I'm running back to the porch I hear Mason yell, "Ewww!  Gross!  Mommmmy!"  I turn the corner to catch Chunky Monkey chunking his poopy diaper on the concrete.  There was poo everywhere.  That's when the dry-heaving began.  I have cleaned a ton of poopy diapers in my day, but for some reason this one got me.  I couldn't wipe anymore.  Poor Chunky Monkey.  He got a hose to the booty.  As for the concrete, it got a good spray down with a bleach mixture once I got the kids settled inside.

There.  You have it.  My poopy day.  Despite how disgusting it may have been, I'm still thankful that I have these three monkeys to keep me on my toes, and I bet you're thankful I don't have pictures.  These kids make my heart pitter-patter...

However, their poo does not.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We're From the Country...

...and we like it that way.  Yeah, that couldn't be further from the truth.  Yes, we live in OK, but we're also city folk 'round here.  I can talk a good talk, but when it comes down to it I can find my way around the mall better than I can find my way out of the deep woods.  I really have no idea how I got off on this tangent other than we visited Saddleback Equestrian last Friday.  I guess something about horses makes me think Cowboys and Indians, and something about Cowboys and Indians makes me think country.  So a lesson in how 'uncountry' I am is what you got.  We're working on this area though.  We like to be well rounded 'round these parts (please use your best country accent when reading this sentence).

Back to the point...

Saddleback is owned by my childhood friend, Ashley.  The facility was more than words could possibly describe.  I have never been to a horse stable that didn't reek of manure, but this stable did not.  It was clean and all of the horse were strikingly beautiful, or should I say handsome since there was only one mare?  Ashley did an amazing job keeping the attention of two two-year olds and a four year old.  We were there for a little over two hours.  During that time, we went to bring Snickers (the most amazing horse) up, brushed him with 3 different brushes, cleaned out his hooves, saddled him up, rode him, watched Snickers and Ashley jump, and rewarded him with carrots.  It was real work that the kids enjoyed.  I really enjoyed watching someone I grew up with live out her passion. Simply amazing. I also enjoyed watching the little rug rats.  They were so cute.  Here's a little recap of each one...

Chunky Monkey
You'll have to look closely at his faces.  He looks absolutely miserable. He really wasn't.  Chunky Monkey loved every part of the adventure.  He just happened to inherit his Daddy and Uncle Stevie's genes.  They make weird faces during enjoyable moments.  Thankfully, Rene does it much more than Steven.  I can only imagine what Rene's face looked like the day Chunky Monkey was born.  Probably something along the lines of Chunky Monkey's faces during horse riding...

Little Miss
Little Miss was as predictable as ever.  She loves animals.  I knew this would be her thing.  What I didn't realize was how tiny she would look sitting upon Snickers.  I wasn't afraid for her at all, but it makes me thankful that she is still my tiny little thang!

Little Man
Little Man loved Snickers as well.  He stayed right by his side the entire time (except when CM and LM were riding).  He even got to lead Snickers to the beginner's riding area.  He makes me so proud.  He listened so well to Ashley's directions on how to start and stop a horse.  He may very well turn out to be my little horse rider.

If you are interested in starting your child with riding lessons, I would not hesitate to schedule with Saddleback Equestrian.  With the maximum of two riding lessons per day, the horses are well taken care of by the staff.  Not only is their care top of the line, but their temperaments are amazing.  Every horse boarded at Saddleback is required to be friendly.  We can definitely attest to that.  As we arrived and walked through the stable, almost every horse poked his/her head out of the stall to whinny at us.  Super sweet!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Monday

This week's menu is a doozy.  Well, today is a doozy at least.  I'm fairly certain that if I survive all the calories and fat from tonight's meal, then I should eat a raw food diet for the rest of the week.  But...I'm not.  The rest of the week equates to more calories and more fat, but hey!  It's delicious.  So I'm going to use that as my excuse to eat poor this week.  I'll understand if you run away from this menu straight into the arms of your uncooked veggies.

Monday-Chicken Tacos with Taco Dip
Tuesday-Monterey Chicken, Corn Casserole, and Trees and Raisins
Wednesday-G-Dawg's Stuffed Burritoes, Mexi Rice, and Corn Saute
Thursday-BBQ Meatballs, Smashed Potatoes, and Green Beans
Friday-Club Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Chips
Saturday-Grilled BBQ Chicken Quarters, Spring Salad, and Zuchinni Cakes
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's

Friday, April 8, 2011

If You're Happy and You Know It

Today's post is going to be real short, but hopefully it plants a seed for you.  It's something I've been trying to work on for a long time...choosing to be happy at all times.

Some days you get a lot of junk thrown your way that you can't control.  Or can you?  I think you can.  Not necessarily the junk that gets thrown at you, but how you respond to that junk.  You don't have to let it in.  That's what I'm working on.  So when I get an attitude thrown my way, or get cut off in traffic, I have a choice.  Allow the junk to fill me with junk which then has me spewing out junk, OR let the junk hit, and then wipe it off.  I think I'll choose to wipe it off and move on.  I'm choosing to be happy.

With that said, what are you today...

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How To Make Your Own Pizza Crust and Sauce

We do homemade pizzas a lot at our house.  It's fast.  It's easy.  It's tasty.

Shorty after being turned on to The Pioneer Woman, I stopped buying pizza dough.  I started making my PW's.  It's super simple, and I know exactly what's going in the crust.  Since I was already making the crust, I decided to start making the sauce as well.  It's not hard either, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand anyway.

Here's what you need to make your own pizza sauce...

1 small can of tomato sauce
3-4 TBSP diced onions
2 garlic cloves minced
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
a dash of sugar

First, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Then toss in the onion and garlic until the onion begins to turn clear and the garlic is getting browned.  Add the tomato sauce.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add Italian seasoining, and a small dash of sugar.  Taste.  If too bitter, add a little more sugar.  If too sweet, toss in a little sauce.

There you have it.  A homemade sauce to go with your homemade crust.  The toppings are endless so have at it!

Happy Cooking!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Body Builder

Back in the day (before kids) I used to workout every single day.  I would get finished with teaching and head to the gym to meet Steven.  We would workout for a good two hours and then head home.  I had some delicious looking abs back then.  They were beautiful. 

My abs have very little to do with this story except for the fact that I was working on my abs in the aerobic room during this particular story.  Steven was finishing up his cardio, and I was doing V-ups (something that is rarely done now).  I was nearly finished when this stumpy body builder guy comes in and asks me if I minded if he worked on his rountine.

In my mind I was thinking he was just going to watch himself go through a few poses, so I just turned the other direction.  I wasn't really interested in watching his 'show'.  As I was finishing up the last of the V-ups when I actually saw what I had gotten myself into.  Coming up to an almost sitting position, I saw him.  I was frozen.  I caught him with his pants down.  Literally.  Underneath his workout shorts he was sporting a shiny metalic blue semi-man thong.  They weren't quite bikini briefs, and not yet a thong.  I guess I could call the little blue 'outfit' bikini brongs (brief+thong).  He stood back up and started posing.  I high-tailed it out of there.  I think I've been scarred for life.

When I told Steven, he didn't believe me.  Big mistake.  He walks in there thinking I was playing a big joke on him.  He is now scarred for life as well.

The story's not over yet.  A few years back Steven and I were at church, and I see this guy walking down the hall.  He's staring at me with one of those smiles that says, "I've seen you before."  I recognized him a little bit, but couldn't place where.  Then it hit me...he was the blue bikini brong guy!  I am certain if he were sporting The Brong, I would have recognized him!  The only way this situation could have been worse was if he looked like this in his brong...

Now you're scarred for life too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Doing 'Stuff' Together

As long as Little Man was old enough to begin eating table food, we started a tradition of eating Saturday morning breakfast together.  It's the only time during the week where all four of us sit down and have breakfast at the same time.  As Little Miss is getting older, we've decided to add to the tradition.  We're adding a Saturday after breakfast activity to enjoy these warmer days.

Our main goal is giving the kids new experiences in activities they would enjoy.  We also like to keep these kids moving.  We want to wear these kids out!!!  We've got a strategy here folks.  If we wear the kids out enough, they'll take extra long naps, and then Steven and I have more time together without kids.  We're pretty selfish, and we like it that way ;)

Really, that's not the case.

Our first outing of the Spring season was a hike through Redbud Valley Nature Preserve.  It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!  The hike around the main trail is only a mile, so being the show-offs we are, we opted for the challenging bluff hike.  The kids were rock stars (no pun intended) climbing up all the boulders and investigating the little caves.  Eventually, we had to turn around on the bluff hike because the trail was so narrow it was no longer safe for Little Miss' daring adventures.  Little Man is a bit more cautious.  After descending the bluff, we took to the loser main trail.  Kidding.  It was just as cool!  We all really enjoyed our time outdoors together and look forward to our next adventures.

{You can click on the picture to view it larger}

Here's our next ideas of little and big outings...
  • Visit Tahlequah during the Red Fern Festival (April 29-30).  Afterward, we plan on finding that little place my friends and I used to go to near the Illinois River to tan our pale, pale skin so the kids can get their little toes wet and enjoy the river scenery.  Then hitting up the best pizza joint ever for dinner...Sam & Ella's. For older kids visit the Tsa La Gi Cherokee Indian Village.  I cannot wait for our kids to be old enough to go.  One of the coolest places I have ever been.  EVER.
  • Woo-la-roc in Bartlesville to see all they have to offer, but be sure to check out the Mountain Man Camp as you are pulling in (running now through Labor Day).  A-MA-ZING!  Then a quick bite at Dinks BBQ (Thanks J & S for teaching us about that little nugget).
  • Riverside...riding bikes, playing at the parks, picnics.  My kind of perfect day.
  • Woodward Park for squirrel watching, walking through the gardens, playing in the mini-waterfall (it's what Little Man calls it), and a picnic.
  • Oxley Nature Center.  The kids love looking for animal tracks and finding food sources for animals.
I'm sure as we go along on our little adventures we'll have more and more to add to the list, but right now it's all we got fer yoo. 

Be sure to check back here tomorrow.  I've got a story that I think you're going to like.  Someone reminded me the other day of a time that involved me, a gym, and a man in a blue semi thong thingymajig.  No, I'm not lying!  See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Monday

Guess what?  It's MONDAY! 

Guess what else??  I have a menu for you this week.

I know, I'm just full of surprises.  You never know what I'll have up my sleeves.

Monday-Homemade Pizza (dough recipe), Garden Salad, and Cheesy Bread
Tuesday-3 Cheese Manicotti, Green Beans, and Garlic Breadsticks
Wednesday-Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole and Honey Bread
Thursday- Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Homemade Fries and Fruit Salad
Friday- Greek Tacos with Spring Mix Salad
Saturday-Dinner with the Hunley's and Frey's!!!
Sunday-Grilled Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Urgency

When you start with a baby like this...'s hard to wrap your mind around what he'll be like when he's four, or how you'll feel knowing you're about to send him off to school in four short months.  It's hard to imagine a time 'that' far off.  He was so little and knew so very little.  Except that he liked to cry.  And nurse.  And cry.  And nurse.  You get the point.

With the idea of Little Man starting school in August I have this sudden urgency to expose him to as many experiences as I can.  Thank goodness the weather is warming up and we can get out and about a lot easier.  Tomorrow we're headed to the Redbud Valley Nature Preserve to hike the mile trail and have a picnic as a family.  I have a million things I need to get done around the house.  I have a million crafts I would like to work on.  I turned down a craft fair to promote Wisp Clips.  All of these things are important, but none as an important as our time as a family.  Because, I know one day all I'll want to do is spend time with my kids and offer them new experiences and they won't be there.  They will be with their families building new memories, and then I will cry on Steven's shoulder.   Let's be honest.  Steven will be crying on mine too. 

Now that I've depressed myself severely thinking about the not so distant future, I'm off to hug my kids' necks whether they like it or not.  Then we'll go to the park and have some lunch.  I just love warm weather days.

Happy Friday!!!