Friday, September 13, 2013

Someone Had a Birthday :)

Tim, around 2 years old
This handsome guy had a birthday!  I love him so much and I feel very blessed to be his wife.  As I thought about my man today, I recalled that I met him the July before his 18th birthday, so I guess that means we were basically childhood sweethearts.  This makes 16 total birthdays that I’ve been able to celebrate with him.  It’s been so much fun to “grow up” with my best friend.  It’s been the best 16 years of my life!

We have had so many good times.  When I first learned a new family was moving into the vacant house next to my family’s house, I heard that the oldest boy in the family was going into the Air Force and it peaked my interest. Hmmm…A man in uniform might be nice. ;)  News travelled fast throughout the neighborhood and ALL the girls on the street wanted him!

He wasn’t exactly my “type” since I had always dated guys who were at least two years older than me.  I’d been out of high school and entire year and had worked at a bank for 2 years prior to that along with going to the local community college. He was 11 months younger than me and probably SO immature, because as you know, boys mature slower than girls.  My dad dragged me over to meet the new neighbors and give them the cookies my mom baked.  Though reluctant to walk next door to meet the cute-Air-Force-guy with my (sweaty) basketball clothing on, Dad insisted and from the moment Tim and I met we were best friends.   

He was so different from the other guys that I’d dated.  He was so honest and sincere.  He was genuine.  He was SOOO dreamy!  His kind, hazel eyes were what immediately grabbed my heart….and his warm, shy smile.  We did just about everything together (community college, rollerblading, hiking, movies, soccer, bike riding, etc) from the July we met until he left for basic training in January of 1998. 

September 1997
The rest is history!  He’s my sweet heart and my Honey.  I love him so much!  Happy Birthday!!!

September 1997
Little Miss Kylie made him a special book for his birthday that I’d like to share with everyone.  It made us both smile, so we hope you smile too!  I left the spelling mistakes because it’s awesome the way it is and I don’t want to change a thing.  She wrote 34 bullet points for 34 years of his life.

Why I love you, by Kylie:

1.        The 1st day I met you I thought you’de be the best dad ever and I was write.

2.       I love you because your funny and you always pick on me.

3.       When I do wrong and I get in trouble, you always cheer me up and give me a big hug.

4.       I love when you give me the cuddle-cuddles (he grabs the kids and holds them in a giant bear hug while they moan and groan pretending they don’t want cuddle cuddles)

5.       When I’m scarred or sad you let me sleep in your room

6.       When you want to read and I ask if you can come swim or jump on the trampalean you do it though you wanted to read

7.       You always take me on bike rides

8.       You make the BEST CHEESE burgers and HOT dogs ever!!!!

Chapter 2, What I love to do with you:

9.        On weekends I love to stay up late and watch movies with you

10.   I think it fun when we play board games with you and Katie

11.   I enjoy playing the Wii with you also

12.   When I have trouble on math or spelling you ALWAYS help me

13.   I don’t know how but you can tell when I’m lonely or sad, and you try as hard as you can to make it better

14.   If I want music on my MP3 player you put in on there

15.   My favorite of all is spending time with you, just me and you on my DADDY DATES

Chapter 3, Favorite thing I like to do with you:

16.    Favorite time of year is Christmas.  When dad gets the Christmas decorations and Christmas tree.  It’s fun putting the ornaments on the tree.  When it’s Christmas morning I wake up at 7 and jump on your bed “stocking time and then presents!” Katie and I say.  We have beakfast and cookies and presents.

17.   I also like summer cause school ends and we go on vacation also swim.  It’s fun doing the 10-foot dive and you throwing us in the pool.  We don’t have to worry about homework.

18.   I love playing soccer with you and roller bladeing.

19.   Though you stink I still love you nomader what.

20.   At church I love to sit by you cause you scratch my back.  It feels so good.

21.   You write the best emails.  I love hearing from you.

22.   I know you really like cookie dough but you still share it with us.

23.   When I was little at night you always did snug as a bug in a rug.

24.   On Sunday mornings you tickle me till I wake up.

25.   You bring us to the park for fun sometimes

26.   When we go to the beach you throw Frisbees to me and do sand castels with me and also find sea shells

27.   When we go hiking you find turtles and frogs and bugs and lizards

28.   When you come back from (business) trips you always bring us back a gift.

Chapter 4, Places you take me:

29.    When you have a baseball game you always take me.

30.   On Mom’s days offs you take us to school.

31.   Sometimes you take us to fun places like Putt Putt golf for ICE CREAM.

32.   When Katie wants to go to the craft store, you sometimes take us to one.

33.   You take us to walmart and food lion

34.   Best of all you give us love and sometimes mercy.  We love you so much!



Friday, September 6, 2013

Crockpot Mama

Note to self (and others reading): After eating CLEAN/ORGANIC for over 2 months, do NOT under any circumstances eat PIZZA HUT PIZZA.  The hubby working late, torrential rain, no thawed meat, 4 starving-withering children and 5 hours of homework times 4 children are NOT a good enough reasons to eat Pizza Hut pizza.  Trust me. It's not worth it.  Do not do it!  You will have massive, acidic projectile.  Nuff said.  I'll spare you the graphic details.  Heed my warning.  Please, I beg of you.

Anyway, I read online a blog from a lady (we will call her Crockpot Mama) who shops and cooks for her family ONE TIME a month.  Crockpot Mama has her method down to a science (I'm so jealous of her).  Since I HATE to cook and HATE to grocery shop, it sounded like a great plan.  So, I tried it.  She recommended trying cooking using her method for one week to see how it went (This is sound advice for zealous beginners like myself who would get in WAY over our heads trying to do a month on the first try).  She mentioned as I get used to it, I can move up to cooking and shopping ONE TIME a month! 

So basically if you want to be a Crockpot Mama, you begin by picking foods from one genre at a time.  I chose stews as my genre.  I wrote these meals on my meal calendar.  This saves money because, for example, you buy one celery bundle and a little bit of it goes in each meal for the week.  We bought several pounds of free range chicken, and a little bit of it goes in each meal for the week.  You get the picture.  As a result, I only had a few items on my list to shop for:  Organic veggies, organic tomato chunks, organic chicken, salsa and organic broth.  This was SO EASY and SOOOO much cheaper.  My whole bill for an entire week for SIX people was around $100.  I could NOT believe it!

My adorable volunteer help chopping the onions

Next, you prepare the food and place the meals (minus liquids) in freezer gallon-sized zip lock bags.  You freeze your meal bags until the day you cook it in the crock pot and you will add your liquids (ie water, broth, salsa or tomato chunks) that morning.  I spent only about 2 hours cutting up the meat and veggies (I could have been much faster without my "volunteer help," but hey, we made memories that day.  Haley burned her eyeballs out on the chopped onions and inadvertently cried for the next hour...I didn't say they were GOOD memories).  So basically meal preparation for the WHOLE WEEK was prepared in 2 hours flat.  You can't beat that, Busy Moms (or dads if you are the family cook)!!!!! 
Cut up veggies & meat ready to bag
I had 7 meals prepared in 2 hours

What are my thoughts about Crockpot Mama's method?  LOVE IT!  Pros: Saved money.  Saved time.  I got to sit down to a healthy, home cooked meal every night without having to cook.  Cons: It was hard to get the food out of the ziplock bag in the mornings while it was frozen.  The kids got bored of stews after a few nights of it.  Cleaning out the crockpot every night really got old.
The sticker on her cheek says "Organic"...Kylie is certified organic!

So, what I've basically decided to do is continue to do the Crockpot Mama method, but not every night.   Çrockpot meals are perfect for the busy nights where I don't have time to cook (for example the night Kylie has horse riding lessons and it's impossible to cook).  The other nights of the week I can cook regular meals.  This hybrid method still saves me time and the family money because we are not eating out at fast food joints (Yuck. PIZZA HUT's NASTY!!!).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

17 Days of School

We are now completing almost 3 weeks of school around here.  So far we’ve had some textbooks and homework planners go MIA.  We’ve “signed the book” a few times (sometimes my fault and Tim’s for not signing the planners, sometimes talking in class was the reason).  We received a few D’s on quizzes or tests.  We got a few “NA’s” (Not Acceptable) grades on the penmanship tests.  We’ve received some “warnings” regarding dress code.  We’ve had a little morning drama involving screaming, tears and things flying around the kitchen aimed at other human beings.  We’ve shown up to school without our hair brushed and with tooth paste on our uniforms.  We’ve had a few sore throats, scraped knees and mosquito bites.  There’s been spilled soup in the lunchroom (so tragic at the middle school age), yogurt that’s landed in the lap, plastic spoons forgotten at home, lost homework, tears on the playground and missed birthday parties.

BUT!!!  All and all, we cannot complain.  It has been a good year so far.   We have had NO trips to the principal's office, NO forgotten lunches, NO stealing or tantrums, NO punching other kids, NO injuries and no MEMOS from teachers/principals!!!!  The kids all go to school happy and come home happy (the majority of the time). 

I worried about Kylie merging back into the classroom and her anxiety, but she has really done very well.  I received a simple email from her teacher saying, “Kylie is a dear.”  (Thanks.  We’re quite fond of her!!  Oh, how I miss her when she’s at school.  Homeschooling her ROCKED and I miss it.)  Kylie is working hard every night on her school work.  She has not complained even one time about the amount of homework she brings home.  She is my girl who ALWAYS does her best and ALWAYS writes very neatly.

 Sweet Katie-Bug hit the ground running in 7th grade and she is tackling all her assignments quite well.  She has a heavy volume of homework to accomplish each night, but I’m SO VERY thankful for my 1st born daughter, my eager learner and self-motivated child!!  It is nice to know I never have to check up on her to make sure she’s doing what she is supposed to do.

Little Miss Haley-Bee-Alissa is our precious “problem child” at the present time (Can’t we all behave all at one time?).  It’s nothing major as of yet, but her tendencies are beginning to be a problem.  It really does seem she has trouble focusing and staying on task.  She is SO easily distracted (OH, look! Squirrel!!).  Her handwriting is doctor-like-ish.  She’s scatter-brained, forgets things and loses things (and even begins looking for whatever it is, but then forgets what she’s lost).  Her brain is off somewhere else a lot of the time---in Haley-La-La-Land thinking about a land filled with ice cream, turtles, frogs and new baby kittens.  I’m not exactly sure what to make of it all.  She’s always been our “slow poke” and easily distracted child, but it seems to be worsening lately.  Whatever is going on with her, we intend to figure it out and hopefully nip it in the bud.  (My dear, youngest child, there are TWO of us parents in this house and only ONE of your cute, little self.  We are going to come up with a very good plan to fix this. Charm will not get you out of this, so don’t even try). 

 Anyone have any ideas of a very good plan?  Anyone?  (Please don’t say to set a timer.  We’ve tried the timer and frankly, we over-used the timer to the point where it is no longer effective and it is actually more of a distraction to her with the ticking and moving numbers and all).  All you experienced parents, I’m calling on you for advice and reinforcement.  Thank you in advance!

Anyway, I’m so thankful for answered prayer regarding school this year!  Please pray that Katie and Kylie continue to have a good year.   Please pray for Haley and that we will be able to pinpoint whatever is going on with her and then help her snap out of it.  Finally, pray for Tim & I to have wisdom, discernment, unity, peace, patience and strength.  17 days of school are finished—only 163 more to go!!! Phew!