Sunday, May 31, 2009

Right now...


  • my husband is reading the book I just finished
  • my dog is happy & sleeping
  • my children are happy & sleeping
  • I am happy but not sleeping
  • my coffee hasn't been made yet

So... I'm off to the kitchen to make my coffee for tomorrow morning. Then I'm off to bed. We were blessed with a wonderful weekend, if I had scripted it myself it wouldn't have been any better.

See you tomorrow...

Friday, May 29, 2009

I should do more arm-twisting


I was so entertained and thrilled to hear your dreams. Seriously, I read them all. Some of them more than once. Y'all are inspiring people with big dreams to do wonderful things! It really did my heart good to hear from you. I was starting to feel like our friendship was one-sided... like me doing all the talking and y'all doing all the listening and that can only last for so long, ya know? So, THANK YOU for coming out of Reader to post a comment! My sitemeter tells me you are there but some of you folks are way too quiet.

Speaking of dreams... The sun reappeared yesterday and I was so glad to see it, as were the children. Thanks to it my ears are filled with water and I can only assume Morgan's are too. I decided to teach her how to do a back dive/flip off the ladder. It sounds much more dangerous than it is, trust me. I'm no olympic swimmer; I almost drowned in an intramural swim meet at Auburn trying to do a simple flip turn at the end of my lane in front of 30 fraternity boys. We call it a "back flip" but really it's just a back dive where you lean backwards and keep leaning backwards 'til your head resurfaces and you've come full circle. We call them "BACK FLIPS" because it sounds so much cooler. Anyway, what better way to teach her than to show her so my ears are full too. I have this dream of Justin coming home from work one day and Morgan showing him a successful "back flip" on her own! Hopefully soon! When we bought this house we came very close to filling our pool with dirt because we didn't want one.... on days like today I'm very glad we didn't. Anyway, their ears may be full of water but their skin smells like Banana Boat and they have Popsicle stains around their lips... do you know how happy this makes me? Water in ears, sticky popsicle ring-around-the-mouth, and the smell of Banana Boat! Mmmm..... well, maybe not the water in ears part.

Back to your dreams, I didn't count but I'd say close to 90% of y'all want a cozy little house with land. As I mentioned, that's a dream of mine too. I always entertain it for months {usually in the winter} weighing the pros and cons then the mosquitoes come out and I completely change my mind. I hate mosquitoes. They eat me alive. If I lived on land then I would want to be out on it, enjoying it, but if thousands of mosquitoes are draining me of all my blood then I won't be able to go outside. I know... very rational, right? I'm also a fairly social creature and I fear that no one would come out to see me if I lived out in the country. I love having people over and if they have to drive 30 miles to get to me... I fear they won't come. I guess you have to adjust your social life if you live in the middle of nowhere... or just be okay with fewer visits from friends. Then there's the driving to "town" to get stuff. I live a very "convenient" .75 mile from Target and 1 mile from Walmart and 2 {maybe less} miles to our church. With this said, I highly applaud the genius developers out there who have taken large tracts of land and rather than putting 400 houses on 100 acres in town they are putting 12 houses on 100 acres so that people can have between 5 and 10 acres {to plant their large gardens, have their chickens, burn their leaves} and you don't lose the sense of community and fellowship that you often get robbed of when moving out of town. But trust me, I know those communites come with a very hefty price tag! When we need a "farm fix" we can usually hit up my parents farm... who live around real farmers, including Dale... who not only grows mean vegetables but also rides his bike in overalls.


We hope to spend a couple weeks at the farm this summer. One of my favorite posts Erika's ever written was about the farm, here's the LINK.

Hornet is awake {and he's supposed to be asleep}... so I'll have to cut this short. But I'll leave you with him...


... and his brown watercolor {hopefully non-toxic} paint.

The sun is scheduled to be out this weekend and we are going to pick some blackberries. I think the mosquitoes are also scheduled to be out while I pick the blackberries. I've already planned my picking outfit and it includes knee-high boots, a turtle neck, and face mask. Should make for great pictures!

PS--- Thanks for all your support of my DREAM! I really think Justin is "thinking" about it! :) I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Do You Dream?


I've always been a big "dreamer". I love to entertain my mind with things I'd like to do. I think this trait comes from my dad. He can come up with some crazy ideas... and usually if he entertains himself long enough with those ideas he'll act on them. Most of my dreams are fairly unattainable. That's why they are usually dreams and not reality. One day soon I hope to be gutsy enough to bring my dreams to fruition. I've subtly hinted at my dreams on here before... raising chickens, living on a farm, and now... I've moved on to another dream. Are you ready?


Remember Justin has that new truck that can pull a beast like this. I want to take my family on a vacation across the US in a pull behind RV. I can hear you laughing. I told Erika a couple weeks ago... she died laughing. She said, "You must have forgotten about Hornet. How are you going to sleep in an RV with your kids and Hornet?" I'm not really sure but I could probably figure it out.

We would start here in Alabama and travel west to and through Texas. Then we would continue west to Arizona and then north to Utah and then east to Colorado then further east through Nebraska and then to Missouri and onto Illinios so we could stop at the farm and say "hey" to my parents. Then we would turn right and head south through Kentucky, Tennessee and back to Alabama. Doesn't that sound like fun? I told Justin I bet some of y'all would let us park it in your driveway for a night or two, right?

What do you daydream about? Really... I'd like to know. Did you know that less than 1 percent of y'all ever comment? To be exact in the last 2 days only .03% of y'all have commented and usually it's the same people... which I'm always grateful for. So take a second and tell me something that you'd like to do... it can be totally absurd.

Ok, back to reality.

*Paige pictured above with a "Scary Monster"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It was Memorable

If you live in the deep Southeast you too are probably wondering who stole our beautiful sun. I've not seen more than 30 minutes of consecutive sunshine in a week and a half and it's killing my creative side. What is it about the lack of sun that drains people? My pictures from our weekend getaway have been edited and have been sitting in my Flickr account for a couple days, yet the words and energy to recap our delightful weekend are far from my fingertips. So... in attempt to not fall far behind I'm going to sip some fully caffeinated ice tea and see if I can squeeze out a recap that will fully display the wonderfulness of our weekend!

In our pre-children years we would always pack the lake house full on Memorial Day weekend. Maybe even some of you have spent a Memorial Day with us? As we've now been outnumbered by children our friends too have been outnumbered by their children which has resulted in a Memorial Day going from a LOT of people to just a FEW. I like it both ways, but with a lot of little ones, the fewer the better.

The house sits on Silver Lake, a private, small, crystal clear, spring-fed lake near Marianna, Florida. A 45-minute drive from our house. Justin's parents {along with his aunt & uncle} built the house in 1981. The house is adorned in pictures, some of my favorite include Justin at Morgan's age swimming, splashing and fishing. He mentioned over and over this weekend what delight it gave him to see his children enjoy the lake the way he enjoyed it when he was a child. The lake is not very large and no motor boats are allowed, only sailboats, kayaks/canoes, or trolling motors {battery operated}. It's a quiet and peaceful place where you hear tree frogs, whippoorwills, and red-wing blackbirds rather than the loud drone from motors of ski boats and jet skis.

We were accompanied this weekend by the Stanford & Wright families {and a LOT of food} and had a wonderful weekend... despite the rain. Both of these families are wonderful, laid-back, go-with-the-flow friends.... which is especially important when the forecast showed a LOT of showers.


As we drove down Saturday morning, I thought for sure the weather would clear. In 10 years of spending Memorial Day weekend at the lake it's never rained the WHOLE time. My very optimistic husband would repeatedly say, "I think it's about to blow over!" Which it would, only to be followed by another downpour.


This picture of Raiger pretty much sums up a lot of what we saw & did: watched the RAIN & stuffed our faces.

John Martin & Mary Grace were fast friends and teamed up on cleaning the floors with their clothes, while the Raiger took care of baby Rhys {I only had to tell her twice, "Not so fast, Raiger!"}.



Saturday afternoon there was a small window of opportunity for me to take the young man to the swing. He was sporting his "I ♥ Mom" shirt and as if his smile {& teeth} don't win me over the combination of the two will certainly earn the man some serious swing time. So we swung. And we swung. And we swung some more.





I loved these pictures so much that I made a new header {thanks, Julie!}.

The weather cleared on Saturday evening in time for what we used to call a "Wine Cruise" but when you're with nursing mothers and young children a "Pajama Cruise" was a more appropriate name for our evening boat ride.


Sunday brought more scattered showers with a few windows for swimming and splashing for the kids.


Once the children were all snug in their beds both nights we pulled out the Joker Board. Shireen and Russell are big "Joker" fans and Russell even made this beautiful board. We had a lot of fun and loved learning a new game. There were a lot of laughs and we enjoyed a little evening fellowship with a game that is a combination of cards, marbles, a little luck and a lot of strategy!


Monday came way too quickly! We obviously forgot to get a group picture... maybe next time!

This picture was in my "stack" and it reminds me to tell y'all that I ended up zig-zagging around the owls for fear that after several washings the "Heat 'n Bond LITE" would lose it's tack. So, if you try it you may want to zig-zag around the fabric to ensure a good hold.


**There are more pictures from our weekend in my FLICKR account... you can click on any of these pictures to be lead there.**

The weatherman has informed me that the sun should reappear this weekend, until then we have plenty to keep us busy.


And for me: Same Kind of Different as Me. It's been on my reading list for 4 months and thanks to the rain this weekend I started it and almost finished it in a couple days. It's a life-changing book. That's all I can say right now... I don't imagine the last few pages will change my opinion... I know a lot of y'all have read it and I thank you for the rec. I'll be back soon with a full review.

I haven't been brought to tears in a while... and not only did this book bring me to tears but also a video I watched on Monday night. Have y'all heard about Rachel Barky? She is a 37-year old mother of 2 who is dying. She presented the most POWERFUL message to a group of women a couple months ago. I listened intently to her every word and found nothing that she said to be untrue or out of line with the Gospel. Her days are numbered, her young and beautiful body is riddled with cancer. Her hope is in the Lord, her maker, creator, and Savior. Her message is powerful. If you haven't seen it please click on the link and listen to her words. Her circumstances are dismal but her message is full of peace and hope. I pray it will encourage you the way that it encouraged me: to be a mother who delights in serving my Savior, my husband, and my children and may I do so with abounding joy because as Rachel teaches: "I know God", "I know myself", "I know the Gospel" and "I know my purpose". If you don't have time to listen now, I suggest you download the audio and listen to it when you have a chance.

Ok, until next time...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Move Over Marlboro Man

My husband.
That is what this post will primarily be about.

For the most part he is very tolerant of me and my camera. Even when I pull it out at 6 am when we're having a quiet morning on the couch with our coffee.



Then after a few minutes he asks, "What are you taking pictures of?" I respond, "You & the light." He asks, "Don't you think you've taken enough?" Me, "Yes, I think 100 is enough."

As you all know he's a man of many talents. But today I will refer to him as "Straw Man". As in "pine straw". I might as well call him a farmer because honestly, harvesting pine straw is similar to harvesting hay, with the exception of the 1,000's of pine trees you have to dodge in the process. His work keeps him in close contact with Latinos. He has become {almost} fluent in Spanish in the last 2 years. And, if he didn't have blonde hair and blue eyes, I might have thought he had actually become a Mexican. Besides talking to them fluently in Spanish, he also has started shopping at tiendas, drinking imported soft drinks and beer, listening to Spanish music and then he walked through the door in this yesterday... it sealed the deal.
When I inquired about it he told me, "All the guys wear them, and it keeps the sun off my neck. It was $6 at the equipment store." Then he asked, "Do you like it?" All I could do was reach for my camera and smile.
John Martin really liked it. I was still getting used to it. This is a man whom I've only ever seen in baseball caps.
I came to the conclusion if it keeps the sun of his neck, entertains John Martin the way it did, and if "all the guys" wear them... then I guess I do like it. Straw Man in a straw hat... sounds good to me.

Then he went on to tell me about his day. They BURN a lot, as in prescribed burning. He loves it, what man wouldn't? But on the days when they burn he comes in smelling like a forest fire. Usually after work he'll change clothes or take a shower. Yesterday he threw on some shorts and walked in the den where I was doing what I always do folding clothes.
These are his legs. He had on socks {obviously}, boots, and heavy Carhart pants... and these are still his legs which were very covered in soot and ash. All I can say is, I'm glad he's "Straw Man" and I'm not "Straw Woman".

In other news, we're heading to the lake for Memorial Day weekend. Why do children have a hard time grasping... "we're not leaving until Saturday!"??
Morgan spent the better part of today packing. I told her "one bag", this was her first bag, she packed more, many more; they were stuffed with toys, towels, floats, jammies, clothes, everything but the kitchen sink. John Martin is ready to go too... he snuck out and I made him come back in. "Saturday, John Martin, Saturday!"


A year ago as I was preparing to go to the lake Paige broke a dozen eggs on my rug. Let's pray that doesn't happen tomorrow!

Ok, I think that's it. I'm super excited about the weekend... we're not going solo!!!

Be back soon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

JELLO Jigglers & Frosted Banana Bars

Mondays are usually a little challenging. Moving from "weekend mode" to "weekday mode" usually takes us half a day. I can't imagine what I'll do next year when Morgan actually has to be somewhere on Monday morning. I usually try to do something fun with the kids on Mondays to keep the house somewhat tidy before our small group arrives at 6. In order to stick to my "keeping it real" campaign I thought I'd show y'all my miserably failed attempt at a fun Monday project: J-E-L-L-O JIGGLERS.

I will preface my picture show of events by saying that I talked this up big time! The girls watched me make the jello on Sunday night as I carefully followed the "jiggler" instructions. I told them of all the fun we would have, of how we would use cookie cutters to cut out fun jello shapes. They were ecstatic {and I secretly was too!}.

So yesterday afternoon with firmly set jello we gathered up the cookie cutters & lined the counters with wax paper.


I sat the baking sheets on the counter and because my sink was full of dirty dishes I couldn't sit them in lukewarm water so I placed our jello-laden baking sheets on warm towels so the jello would separate from the pan. I believe this step caused the whole thing to go drastically down hill. I melted the jello. When you're dealing with a 4 & 2-year old telling them "Mommy has to put it back in the fridge for a couple hours" doesn't fly. So we pressed on with our jello.


And attempted to cut shapes out.


That wouldn't "cut out".


It was more like trying to cut shapes out of grape jelly. There was no, "Morgan hold up your shape so Mommy can get a picture!"


It was more like, "Morgan if you want to eat your jello, hold your hair back and slurp it off the counter!"

Then something happened that set the Raiger off. I can't even remember what it was. Something small. Something not worthy of meltdown. But when you're two... jello is a HUGE deal. Especially when Mommy ruins it!




Oh well... you win some you lose some! This one we lost but at least the toys in the playroom stayed picked up!

On Monday nights I serve coffee from a percolator. While I'm getting that percolator ready, JM is usually busy tidying the cabinets. The percolator is old and nothing fancy, but I love it! I'm actually permanently borrowing it from my mother-in-law. I've never used one before. I'm not sure if I just like it, it's name, or how you can simply press down the little tab and piping hot coffee comes out. Or maybe I like the idea of making a LOT of coffee and having others to drink it with. No matter the reason... I love a percolator.


When the percolator comes out... it also means dessert will be served. The majority of the time it's "slice 'n bake" cookies but occasionally I get a wild hair and fix up something a little more.... ummm, involved.

Last night it was Frosted Banana Bars.

When we were 14, Erika and I both worked as servers. Is that even legal? We rode our bikes to get there. Anyway, it was a little cafe in our small town which was tucked inside a much larger town. It was called the Herb Garden Tea Room. Unfortunately it only survived for about 5 years. It was in Anchorage, KY, a tiny little neighborhood town tucked inside Louisville, KY. So, for several years every Saturday and all summer long I spent my time at the Herb Garden. We had a fairly angry chef named Bo, who I eventually got used to. Occassionally he'd drop the "f-bomb" in a sentence that was directed towards me, at first I would feel the tears well up and my throat would tighten, it only took a few weeks and I could just cut my eyes at him and think, "Oh please, I know your not ticked off because they don't want mayo and you put mayo on there because you didn't read the order right!". I wasn't too fond of him but I loved all the other employees, all 4 of them. The Herb Garden was only opened for lunch and they had a WONDERFUL menu. Sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts.... oh, and of course, they had at least 100 different teas to choose from, which we served in beautiful tea pots. If I had to place my order right now, I'd have a Ginger Peach iced tea, a cucumber & dill sandwich with pasta on the side, and I'd have a hard time deciding between Granny's Chocolate Cake & Frosted Banana Bars.


Sometimes I hope no one will eat our bananas so they will overripen and I'll be forced to make these delicious little gems. They melt in your mouth. The bar is similar in consistency to banana bread, but not quite as dense, and it is smothered in a cream cheese frosting. I can guarantee this recipe. If you don't like it, call me and I'll come pick it up from your house.

The recipe makes a LOAD. You use the same "jelly roll" pan you use for the Texas Sheet Cake and mine has a handy little cover... if you're going to go buy one... make sure it has a cover! The bars are thin, bake really quick and your whole house will smell delightful.


Once again, I very selflessly tested the bars before I served them to our small group. If you ever come to my house to eat and a small part of what I serve is missing, you can go ahead and thank me for testing it for you. :)

I posted a printable version of the recipe: HERE. Bookmark it, print it off, save it... you'll want to make it! I PROMISE. I'm off to have some now!