Sunday, May 30, 2010

We Will Never Forget

Hubby's immediate return from Kuwait in March, 2004.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Homemade Trail Mix

This is perfect to take along on camping trips (Hubby and the kids have been doing some of that), hiking, or birding (we've been doing a lot of that).

Trail Mix

1 Large Container of Mixed Nuts (no peanuts) - the size you get at Sam's Club
Part of a large container of Cashews since we're cashew crazy
Peanut m&m's to suit you (from the large bag at Sam's Club)
Regular m&m's to suit you and so Hubby has some without peanuts (also from the large bag at Sam's Club)
Craisins to suit you (a little redundant, but also from the large bag at Sam's Club)

Toss it all together in a big bowl.

I split mine up between two gallon sized Ziploc bags. It filled them a little more than halfway each.

I'm going to add some other dried fruits next time, but I wanted to keep it simple to start. It was a good idea since the boys and Chatty didn't like the Craisins.

Friday, May 28, 2010

If It's Not Working, You Can Change It

I reorganized my laundry room and the walk-in closet directly off of my laundry room last year right before Labor Day. You can click here to check it out if you'd like.

The biggest change was adding a white folding table as a folding surface for clothes.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and it would be so helpful for me.

It became a surface for stuff and took up valuable space. I was tripping over the laundry baskets that we use to sort the clothes that need to be washed, plus I'd rather watch a few minutes of tv in my bedroom while I'm folding towels rather than stare at a wall.

So I moved out the table and moved the three laundry baskets over in place of it. I still hang the clothes up as I take them out of the dryer on the rods. You can tell they need to be taken upstairs right now.

Clothes that need folded so they don't get wrinkled do get folded straight out of the dryer, but I just do it over by the dryer. The table wasn't worth it.

It's been this way for about a month and it's working much better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stupid Arachnophobe Girl Takes Pictures Of Spiders

Mating no less. On the windows we looked through just two days ago at a cute little baby robin entertaining our cat.

Unfortunately, I am the screaming arachnophobe girl and will only kill a spider if I have to when it is in my house and I can't holler at someone else to do it or use my vacuum cleaner hose attachment to suck it up.

Which means that we will have more spiders running around due to this uncensored window activity in the near future.

I do not like them this close to my door.

It was a free and unnecessary homeschooling lesson.


I was looking at my drafts where I started posts I hadn't finished, or put a few thoughts down so I wouldn't forget what I thought I wanted to say, and found these pictures I never posted from last summer when my parents came to visit.

You can't get much better than having Santa for your grandpa.

He also makes balloon animals and stuff. These were ant antennae.

I suppose that's how you'd make it plural.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's A Baby Shower!

Not mine.

Our ladies' group that hosted the women at church two Saturday's ago hosted a baby shower this last Saturday. They said it's very rare to have two events this close together.


I was responsible for decorations. Nothing fancy though. I was supposed to try and use what they already had if I could.

A couple of the ladies had just cleaned out all of our items and considered throwing away a dozen ceramic booties. I found a way to re-use them after a trip to the dollar store.

I grabbed a couple of bunches of fake flowers, a couple of packages of the 'It's a Girl" signs, and a couple of packages of the plastic baby bottles with pink tops. My challenge was getting them to stay upright in the booties.

I also found a package of 24 little Styrofoam balls at the dollar store. I put the end of the flower stem that I cut off the bunch in one and the end of the "It's a Girl" sign in another one, then I put those in the bootie, stuck the baby bottle in, and then stuffed it with the shiny grass. That helped hold everything in place without gluing it down.

We reassembled these cardboard baby blocks and used them, then I also purchased the baby-themed coiled wire at the dollar store and just put it willy-nilly around the centerpiece on the round tables.

There was a basket that they wanted to throw out also when they were cleaning. The handle was loose and would fall out if you tried to use it. I just pulled it out on the other side and threw it away, then I used some ribbon and beaded fringe to cover up the blue-shaded splints on the basket. We used it to hold the prizes for the shower games.

This little bear was going to get thrown out too! I cut off his black bow, tied some "It's a Girl" curling ribbon around his neck, and we put some balloons coming out of his basket. Then I used three fake flowers from a bunch at the dollar store to cover up the inside of the basket.

I used three more of those flowers with the curling ribbon in a loose little bunch on the gift table next to one of the cardboard baby blocks.

Yummy punch with a floating ducky. I wasn't responsible for this, but it's cute and I had to share it.

We didn't have the standard baby shower cake. We had this most yummy strawberry cake, and as soon as I get the recipe I am sharing it with everyone I know and making it as often as I get an excuse. It was awesome!

I don't have to do anything this weekend. Whew!

Monday, May 24, 2010

$10.50 and a Bird and a Cat

You can find the original $10.50 and a Bird post here if you need to see what all this hullaballoo is about. I linked to the original $10.50 post within that one.

Today the cat spotted the bird first, right by one of the two side windows flanking our front door.

I wish you couldn't see the dirt in the corner that is visible now that I've zoomed in incredibly close just to get a picture of a bird that is being friendly with my cat. I hope he learns to be afraid soon. The bird, not the cat.

I wish you could see the little tufts of white better that are on each side of his head kind of behind his eyes. I think he just came out of the nest and was checking things out before he left.

He was pecking on the door to come in for a visit. The cat was trying to figure out how to paw through or under the door.

He left not long after that. We saw him headed for the back yard. I hope he's okay. Especially since I didn't ruin that nest on the wreath just so he could be born.

Menu Plan Monday — May 24

I'm stuck in a rut, but I don't really know how to get out of it right now. Unfortunately I don't have time to go searching recipes, which is really what I need to do to get out of it. I did make Homemade French Toast Sticks last week, although I used all my original recipes to start with, so I don't know if that really counts.

— Leftovers from the grill. Hubby cooked hamburgers and hot dogs yesterday for us (yum!), and we have some left. I had a Special Sandwich with mine.

Tuesday5-Minute Southwest Layered Salad. We are having small group at our house, so it needs to be something quick and easy, and not a lot of pans to clean up or something that's going to heat up the house (it actually is warm here!).

WednesdaySandwiches. The girls won't be here for dinner, and Buddy has a ball game.

ThursdayCalzones, because I've had them on the plan for I think three weeks and haven't made them yet, plus they should be quick and easy. Sparky has her first softball practice in a long time. She plays for a travel team (which thank goodness stays local because there is plenty available since we live in such a large area) and all the other girls have been playing high school ball. It's time for them to start practicing for their tournaments and weekly play.

FridayMarinated chicken on the grill.

Saturday — More grilling would be nice (hint, hint). Maybe I'll do the Basil Grilled Chicken.

Sunday — Dinner at church for Memorial Day.

Go check out what are probably some much more interesting menu plans with some much more interesting and brand new recipes at The Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Gee, I Sure Have A Lot Of Guns"

What happens when kids explain Clue to Grandpa, and Grandpa says he understands? (We found this in the box last night.)

He hung out in the same room most of the time, suggested the revolver almost every time, which Buddy to his left had, and he kept checking it off.

Grandpa decided to quit because it was too complicated.

We're not telling which Grandpa it was.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Don't Look Like The Dog I Don't Have, But I Do Think Like The Cat I Do Have Looks Like


It will just take me a little bit to get there, plus some digressing along the way.

Yesterday Betsy did a post about people looking like their dogs, and apparently people who buy purebreds are more likely to look like them. There are studies that show that.

Of course my first thought after I got done looking at her post after I got done giggling was that the pictures reminded me of those Lipitor commercials where people and food look alike.

I don't have a dog, so I can't look like my dog, but I do have a cat. He's black and white. I don't look like him either. The cat I had the year before I left for college was black and white also. I didn't look like him either.

Here's our cat, Silly, that was adopted as a stray cat when I was 17 and a senior in high school. I took this because it was very E.T.-ish.

The story of how he came to be ours was this:
  1. You first have to know that we lived in a subdivision that was at the bottom of a mountain, and our house was going up the side a little. We had large ditches for rain water, and large round concrete drain pipes under our driveways so the rain would keep going from the ditches on each side.
  2. My sister heard a cat in the next-door neighbor's concrete drain pipe walking home from the school bus. He lived 'below' us, as in he got our rain water.
  3. We got the cat to take bologna slices. He'd snatch them and take them back to the middle of the pipe.
  4. We eventually got the cat to come up to the corner of the house behind the tree/bush.
  5. We got the cat to come up to the porch.
  6. At this point my mom said we weren't having a cat for a pet.
  7. Then we weren't ever having a cat in the house.
  8. The cat was never sleeping in the house.
  9. The cat could only sleep in the laundry room, which was really an added-on finished room.
  10. Eventually the cat became an only indoor cat. He got shot in the shoulder and was missing a few days.
  11. When my mom had breast cancer and lost all her hair from her chemotherapy, the cat slept up on top of her head and kept it warm.

I just love how that all worked out!

When we decided to get a cat for our little family of six, I went to PetSmart first to check out what was available for adoption. The black and white cat caught my eye. They always do!

He had an awesome personality, so Hubby packed the kids up in the other vehicle, already bathed and in their summer pj's, and brought them up to see how he did. We took him home that night.

His name was Topeka, and since Caboose couldn't say it and I wasn't crazy about it, we shortened it to Peka.

He likes the vents in the winter in Michigan. He's a Southern cat.

I always tell people how much I loved algebra in school and despised geometry (with every fiber of my being). It's because algebra is black and white and geometry is very gray (those proofs were my demise).

That's why I'm an accountant. Definitely black and white. There is always a right answer. It always has to balance. If it doesn't, you figure out why.

Thus, I think like my cat's (cats') colors.

Silly had a pink nose, Peka has a black one, and when my mom visits she calls Peka, "Silly Peka." Unnecessary for my thought process, but the kids all think it's funny that she calls him that.

Now Hubby looking like our cat?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


You can fit that many kids on a trampoline.

Picture courtesy of my poor quality camera phone, but it's better than nothing!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wandering Eyes

Why are all six of my perfect purses sitting in the top of my closet?

When I was at Marshall's for pillowcases the other day, my eyes actually didn't just wander on the way to the check-out when I found the fancy shirt.

My eyes wandered before I ever got to the pillowcases.

My wandering eyes saw this.

The style is very similar to the ones I have now yet still different. It has snap pockets on each end. I use one for my Altoids and one for my little Kleenex packet.

I actually passed it and went back to it.

It was such a great price I just couldn't resist it. Maybe it was that orange and fuchsia in the plaid. Maybe because it was the same yet different as my perfect purse. Maybe because I could justify it with Mother's Day coming up.

The good news is, I don't have a gap on my shelf anymore for the purse I'm using. When I switch out, this one will take it's place.

The bad news is, if my eyes wander and I see another one someday, there's no more space on that shelf.

WFMW — Homemade French Toast Sticks

Sometimes I'll have extra homemade bread when I'm ready to make another batch. Just because I feed my starter doesn't mean I make some, but if I just have a loaf left, it's time.

But nobody wants to eat the old loaf if new fresh ones are available.

That's an excellent time to make French Toast.

Today I had two loaves left when I made new bread, and the kids and I ate most of one for lunch as fresh French Toast. Then I went ahead and sliced the other one up like I normally would for French Toast, then sliced each individual slice from side to side into two pieces.

I put them on wax paper on a cookie sheet when they had cooled some, then I placed them in the freezer to let them harden without sticking together before I put them in a Ziploc bag.

I took two slices, put them on a microwave plate, and cooked them for one minute. They were good and hot.

The only way you can tell the difference between frozen and cooked is the little bit of frost on the side in the above picture. The bottom one had been in the microwave.

Top with some powdered sugar.

After you're finished taking pictures, put more powdered sugar on because you have an obsession with all things sugar, and you didn't want it to come through in the picture. You could use syrup instead.

Works for me! For more Works-For-Me-Wednesday tips, visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Just some of the things I got at the homeschool convention last Friday.

Four kids makes for lots of curriculum.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday — May 17

Hubby is out of town all week again = easy week.

It's baseball season (Buddy) and we have church commitments (on the same night as ball games) and a couple of other things already on our calendar = no so easy.

For the menu plan, I'm at least going to go as simple as possible. It's my best chance at sticking with it.

MondaySalad and fresh fruit. I'll add in a baked potato for the bottomless pits in the family.

TuesdaySloppy Joes. We're having friends come over to play during the afternoon, so I might try to brown the beef ahead of time just to make it go quicker later in the day.

Wednesday — There are always Sloppy Joes left over because I make lots! Simple!

Thursday — I'm going out with the other Awana T&T ladies for a dinner get-together, so I'll make the kids something simple like their favorite mac & cheese from the blue box.

FridayCalzones. I didn't get to this a couple of weeks ago and I really want to try it.

Saturday — Our ladies' group is hosting a baby shower in the afternoon, and then Hubby and I are supposed to go to dinner (a group dinner at someone's house) without children. I'll have to have him fix something for the kids like spaghetti or baked potatoes or hamburgers/hotdogs on the grill.

SundayMarinated chicken for the grill. I'll have been running around all week so maybe we won't go out to eat.

Check out Menu Plan Monday at The Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


A couple of months ago I was asked to serve on a group with seven other women in our church. Due to health issues, another lady was unable to fulfill her term until the end of the year.

This group of ladies ministers to the homebound and widows, and is responsible for the church baby showers, bridal showers, and funeral dinner coordination. We are responsible for two or three of the homebound or widows on a three-month rotating basis, and we send a card, call, or visit, or any combination of those during that period of time.

Each spring we also have a luncheon for these ladies. Today was the day. We had an "apron" theme based on a kit that one of our members found at the library. We sang a song, had a couple of skits, and asked all the ladies to bring and wear one of their aprons. Almost every one of the 17 ladies did! We also asked them to share an apron story or memory, so some of them talked about the one they chose to wear. The laughter and fellowship that we shared was such a blessing.

This was the front of the room.

One of the ladies made "recipe bundles" for everyone to take home. It has five or six recipes that came from different ladies that were there from an older church cookbook.

A couple of us made aprons to give away as door prizes.

We told the lady who made the food for us that we were thinking about chicken salad on croissants and some fruit salad. She said she'd come up with some other things. It was all decorative and creative!

Fruit on skewers, but in watermelon halves (the bottoms were cut where they were flat and would sit without rolling).

Vegetable strip bundles. There were little pieces of plastic wrap so the pipe cleaner didn't touch the vegetables. The picture is not the best because the plastic cover is still on everything.

Potato salad boats. The little bread rolls were scooped out and the potato salad stuffed in. Who would have thought?

These were little lemon cakes that I think were store bought, but they were so yummy. I love lemon.

I kept popping these pecan tarts, which I've always called pecan tassies, into my mouth. Really, I think it was only three.

This is one of our ladies.

I told her a few months ago at church that she reminds me of my Grandma Wheeler, so if I ever call her that she'll know why. The kids and I are always saying, "There's Grandma Wheeler," or, "Grandma Wheeler just drove up," and stuff like that. She walks like my grandma used to, she's small like her, her smile is similar...everything. She's about 15 years younger, but here is the most recent picture I had handy, which means I could copy it off another post.

If nothing else, I'm curious to hear what my mom says the next time I talk to her.

Even though I was simply exhausted from yesterday, I had a wonderful day with these ladies. I loved to see them interact in a casual setting. I enjoyed watching which ones were the mother hens with the others. One lady had such a good time, I've never seen her smile so much and look so truly happy, and she was one of the ladies we didn't expect to be able to come because she's just been overcoming an illness.

By the way, the weather was beautiful outside today so they all enjoyed being able to get out (mid-60s for all of you in the hot South).

I'm going to leave you with this apron story I originally saw posted by my friend, Betsy.
The Apron
I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.
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