Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Weekend In Pictures

Daddy gave B a buzz! This is B's third for the summer, but the first his daddy has ever given him.

It looks pretty good! He got to have a lollipop afterwards because that's what he gets after Miss Ginger cuts his hair at Kids Cutz.

J's first time on the Slip N' Slide...I think he had more fun than he's ever had. It might go down as his best day ever!

He took a really good nap Saturday afternoon!

My sweet boys.

Someone is getting ready for the upcoming holiday...who doesn't love a parade?

Have a great week!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

An "F" in Babysitting

We have some sweet friends who, very sadly, are moving away. Tonight, their next door neighbors threw a going away party for the block to say goodbye. I went over to their house to keep their children while they were at the party.

As they walked out the door, they told me to read to the baby for a few minutes before putting her in her crib and that the three year old was occupied and would be fine until I was finished.

You would think that I would have checked on her anyway, right? I'm a former teacher and a mom for crying out loud! But, this was an adorable girl with a cute nightgown on and a big pink bow in her hair--those kind don't get into trouble...

Fast forward eight minutes...

I come out of the baby's room to find the 3 year old saying, "Look, I colored my arms." This precious bow-head had colored her arms and her legs in black Sharpie marker--the one that they had been using to label all of their moving boxes.

I went next door to get my friend. After all, she had to see what a good job I was doing in the nine minutes since she had walked out the door! was a good photo op!

Needless to say, the little girl had another bath. After much scrubbing, that Sharpie marker can still be seen! It will look so nice with her church dress tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2008

There's Just Something About This....

That I absolutely love! Absolutely Beautiful Things lives up to its name...always!

Friday's Favorite Things

1. Enstrom's Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee--My mouth is watering just thinking of it!
2. Wearing an apron while cooking
3. Great big iced teas--the special kind served at luncheons--like my friend Katy makes
4. Mint cocolate chip ice cream
5. Good salads
6. Crossword puzzles
7. Smocked children's clothing
8. My husband in "business casual"
9. Little girls with big old bows
10. J. McLaughlin clothing

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Kitchen

Do you know how much time I spend in my kitchen? It seems like that is where the majority of my day is spent. Just as soon as one meal is over, the next one is up, or the dishwasher needs to be emptied. I'm not complaining; I really don't mind it all that much. It's just a large part of every day life. When people ask what has been going on, I want to have something new and exciting to say. But, in truth, the majority of what has been going on is cleaning the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher, preparing a meal, eating the meal, cleaning the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher, preparing a get the picture. So, all of the exciting events that take place happen in between those tasks.

I remember my sister-in-law used to always have Bible verses that sat in the window above her kitchen sink. For a long time, she had a notecard that said, "Pray First." Before I had children, I used to look at those and think that she had found a nice display spot. But, now I get it. Raising her three children, that's where she was all the time. She's twelve years older than I am, so she lived this stage before me. She got it--if there was something that she wanted to ingrain into her head and heart, the best place to have a reminder would be the place where she spent the most time.

All of this inspires me to make that time--that large chunk of my time--that time where mental grumbling comes easily--to count in some way. Instead of using it just lost in thought, maybe I could memorize some scripture, pray for my husband, or sing with my children. And, most of all, maybe I need to look at that aspect of my days differently. Serving my family is what I want to be doing--my greatest joy. Having meals together as a family, in truth, is the most special part of life...why would I think that excitement only happens outside of that? Because it's more interesting to tell people?

Don't get me wrong...I have a wonderful life... full of fun activities, great experiences and family and friends that I love...but most of the time I'm right here doing KP duty. And do you know what? Now that I think about it, there's no place that I would rather be.....except maybe New York City!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If I were a Summer Purse

If I were a summer purse, this is what I would look like.

Nothing Says Summer Like Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie is one of my all time favorite summer treats. Now that the tomato scare is over (I think), I need to make one of these. Here is the recipe.

1 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup milk
4-6 tomatoes, diced
basil, chives, lemon pepper, Mrs. Dash
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Mix Bisquick and milk and put it in a greased pie plate. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Mix mayonnaise and cheese together and spread on the top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.


Oh, and usually when I make this, I double the recipe and cook it in a 9 x 13!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love These...

I love these bunny slippers...always have!

A Mama Told Me

I am part of a group that is called Creative Homemakers...I know, it's very June Cleaver sounding. This is a group of dear friends who are very special to me. We study three books a on marriage, one on children, and one on homemaking. Monthly, we meet to discuss the book and encourage one another along as we experience our own personal ups and downs. A few of us have started a blog with various items of interest. Come take a peek at A Mama Told Me and see for yourself!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Movie of the Weekend

On Golden Pond. We own it but haven't watched it in years; I had forgotten how great it is.

Katherine Hepburne plays the most lovely character in the movie. She loves the people around her despite their faults. I also admired her character's joyful demeanor.

Henry Fonda is hilariously grouchy; my husband and I just cracked up the whole time. The whole father-daughter relationship was sad to me. How much they've missed out on. I laughed and cried throughout the movie.

It was an especially sweet movie to watch on our anniversary because Katherine Hepburne and Henry Fonda's characters have such a sweet relationship; they adore each other. The way they depended on each other struck me, too. It was neat to see that deep abiding trust that so many years of marriage gradually built.

I'll definitely recommend this as a do-over for anyone who hasn't seen it in a long time; it's really dear.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Twelfth Anniversary

My husband and I are off on a 24 hour getaway to a fancy hotel to celebrate our anniversary...the children are dispersed, our bags are packed, and the dog is at a neighbor's. I'm so excited!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ten Favorite Things

Ten of my favorite things in no certain order:
1. New York City
2. White matte lasse coverlets
3. Receiving magazines in the mail
4. Ralph Lauren
5. When people call me "Sweetie/Honey/Darlin'"etc.
6. Black and white tile floors set on the diagonal
7. Having dinner in people's homes
8. The library
9. Funny people (I married the funniest)
10. Family

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Resume Rigor

It was a challenging night. My poor brain is tired.

You see, I would like to tutor a little bit starting in the fall, so I had to put together a resume. It has been at least thirteen years since I have done that, and it was hard. What was the name of that committe I served on? How many children were in my classroom? What was it that I did before my current profession of personal chef/answerer of all questions/dishwasher executive/laundry expert/room-cleaning consultant/grocery shopper/birthday party planner/play coordinator/all-time diaper changer?

But....I've done it, and it's finished. I'm not sure if it's good, but it is complete.

Good night.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Magazine Night

Magazine Night...basically a good excuse for girls to get together, eat, chat, and not have the monthly pressure of a book assignment. My sweet neighbor started this, and I was so glad to be included. Everyone brings an interesting article they've found in some sort of periodical. I always choose something I have learned from a blog--I mean, isn't that the most modern version of a periodical? So, I'm working on what I'll take tonight...the clock is ticking. Here's what I'm looking at.

Yesterday, Bonnie's Blog had an interesting article about toys and children's development. It is called "Ideation and The Case for Unstructured Play/Toys". She says, "Children today tend to be inundated with toys and the overwhelming quantity can squelch ideation, creativity and play." The term "ideation" was new for me. This is how Bonnie explains it. "Ideation is described as the first stage of motor planning. It is the ability to generate an idea of how one might interact with an object or the environment. The "what am I going to do?". Children with poor ideation skills generally have very limited play skills and are often dependent on adult intervention and passive pursuits (TV, Videos, computer, video games). They may wander the room briefly picking up objects, manipulate the object, but literally have no ideas how to play with it." She goes on to encourage simpler toys and access to fewer toys at one time. I found it a fascinating read.

Next, I think I'll take a few things from a new favorite blog of mine called Money Saving Mom. Today, she had a post about a site called Hippopost where you can upload a picture of your choice, they will make it into a postcard and the postage is free. Why is the whole thing free? Because there will be a small advertisement on the postcard. Sounds neat!

Another neat tip I found on Money Saving Mom was about free directory information service for your cell phone. Go check it out to read more.

The last thing I'll take is a recipe for these unbelievable tasting Mystery Rolls from The Pioneer Woman. I made these a few weeks ago for my Daddy's birthday, and they were yummy!

Unless I find anything else to take, this is it! I'll let you know what else I learn tonight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

At Least It's Pink

My baby boy has come down with pink eye...a pretty color for a goopy, contagious bugbear. Sweet little guy.

After two doses of drops, he is looking better.

I wish I didn't know what I learned at the doctor today. He walked into the examining room and had the typical exchange. The first thing he asked me when I told him I thought J had pink eye was if we had been swimming. I thought that was a question he would ask with a sore ear, but pink eye? As he looked in J's eyes and confirmed my diagnosis, he proceeded to tell me how easy it is to get things like pink eye in pools. He said that pools are very dirty--that even lakes are cleaner than pools. Pools are stagnant and everyone's bacteria and whatever else is all just trapped in that little body of water.

The kind man just didn't know the weight he just placed on my shoulders. I will never forget that, and now I'm burdening you with this awful knowledge. I was happy in my little world where pools had chlorine..that made them, I must be clean when I get out of one. My children don't necessarily have to take a bath at night when they've just gotten out of the pool...I mean, it's good to rinse that chlorine off, but their bodies aren't covered with foreign bacteria!

That was my naive thinking yesterday. Not anymore--today is a new day. I'll just think about helping my little guy get rid of his pink eyes. Pink is a nice color.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Costume Pageant

B loves the disguise. This has always been his "thing". When he was two, I took him to a fancy Halloween party and had him all dressed up in the cutest duck costume you've ever seen. He was so proud of it...until...he saw another little boy in a slick red fireman costume complete with a helmet. He turned to me and said, "Mommy, NO DUCKIE! FIREMAN!" I think there is a sermon in there somewhere..something about contentment or coveting...Anyway, we now own quite a collection of dress-up costumes. Most of them have been given as Christmas and birthday gifts by sweet grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Some, we've acquired as a result of kind friends with older children having a clean-out-the-house-day. Some have been bought at garage sales. They are quite easy to find in our house. They are simply strewn all over the floor of B's room. Oh, we clean them up-several times a day. But, when one needs to change his identity hourly, his room just has to pay the price.

This summer, I thought we could have a Costume Pageant where every week B will model some of his costumes for you. Thrilling..I know.

So, without further ado, here is this week's edition.

The Hunter

The Sailor....there was no prompting on that salute....that was all him.

The Soldier..Evidently, this is the proper soldier stance.

The Pirate..perhaps our very fanciest costume. When he learns what a Redcoat is, I think this might suffice for that, too...if it still fits.

The Fireman..."I had to do that face 'cuz that's how firemen look when they're puttin' out fires." That's what he told me after I snapped this; I wrote it down so I would remember.

And...The Safari Guy--as B calls it.

Stay tuned for next week with more exciting costumes straight from the floor of B's room!

A Happy Father's Day

It is Father's Day night, and what a great weekend it has been! All of the daddies that are a part of our family have been celebrated and we've spent some special time with them all. B doesn't understand why we don't have a Son's Day. Some day he will realize that when you are five, every day is Son's Day!

My husband and I had fun watching the US Open. Tiger Woods was amazing. I loved this commercial about him and his late father. We can't wait to find out what happens during the playoff round tomorrow! Good night!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Wisdom of a Five Year Old

B turned five years old a few weeks ago. It's so hard to believe; it's gone by so fast. He wanted to have a park ranger party...although it was a little bit difficult to execute, I think we actually did it. We celebrated at Little Gym and he came dressed in his full park ranger costume that his aunt gave him for his birthday. It was such a special day!!!

The day before his birthday we were at the car wash. There was a very nice man there who was intrigued with B--all dressed in this brand new park ranger outfit. He asked B if he was a park ranger. B answered, "Oh, yes!." Then the man asked B if he'd been to a lot of parks. B, again, answered, "Oh, yes!" Then the man asked him what parks he'd been to. B answered, "Northpark". The man looked right at me with a funny expression, and I just said, "That's my kind of park!" I guess that in these five years I have taught my impressionable young son one important truth. The BEST park is Northpark.

Note: Northpark is a wonderful shopping mall in Dallas!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Good-Bye, Tim Russert

I'm so very sad today about the passing of Tim Russert; I am a big fan of his. I remember so well sitting and watching him write on that dry-erase board the night of the 2000 election ...staying up until the wee hours of the morning just watching the drama unfold. My husband and I like to record Meet the Press and watch it together on Sunday night. Tonight, as we watched the tributes on NBC, we talked about how much we respected and just flat liked the guy. He asked the toughest of questions to the most important of people, but somehow they never seemed mean-spirited. He made politics a sport, and he clearly enjoyed it more than anyone. Later, I thought of his happy, bright eyes and how the look in them always conveyed a true passion for what he was discussing. How wonderful it is to see someone spending their life using the gifts the good Lord gave them and thus, loving what they do! Sunday nights will not be the same around our house without this class-act American. I will miss him.


I love to do puzzles. All kinds of puzzles! I even buy those puzzle books you see in the grocery store just for special occasions. As I was growing up, on vacation there was always a giant jigsaw puzzle spread out on a game table. Everyone would stop by it, work on it a minute or twenty, and move that is fun! My husband thinks it's weird...he's not a fan of the puzzle. So, as you can see, I must train my children to love them so that I will have someone to share this with me!

Tuesday Morning is the best place I have found to buy children's jigsaw puzzles for a reasonable price, and I stock up! We are working our way up on number of pieces. Anywhere from forty to seventy pieces is a good number for my five year old. If I do put together the border, he can complete a 100 piecer. If he starts to doubt himself, I might step in and offer a little encouragement or put together several pieces for him. Sometimes, I'll suggest that he look for all of the pieces of one particular focal point of the puzzle. Once he gets going, he develops confidence, and gains momentum.

One day, I did an internet search to pinpoint the educational benefits of jigsaw puzzles. There are actually quite a few. The development of eye hand coordination, problem solving skills, spatial awareness, and logical reasoning are just a few ways they can help a child. Puzzles also help develop an attitude of perseverance. I know that I've heard my son tell me that a puzzle is too hard for him, but, with a little encouragement, he continues on to complete the whole thing. He feels such a sense of accomplishment after finishing what he thought to be an insurmountable task.

At night before I go to bed, I sometimes set out all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on the table in the kitchen. I turn them all right side up so that it's an inviting activity. If not first thing, at some point during the day I'll find my son working on it, and I feel good knowing that he's not only having fun, but gaining a lot as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Hard Day's Night/Evening

Hello, out there! Here's a quick little bit about myself. I'm a thirty-something stay at home mommy who is happily married to my first and only love. He is hilarious and makes every day fun. We have two little boys that light up our world. We prayed for those babies a long time and are so incredibly thankful for them. I spent nine years teaching elementary school before I became a mother. I absolutely loved being a teacher, and I miss that creative outlet. However, I like to believe that a few things I learned in the teaching world come in handy in my day to day life.

One of my favorite things is swapping ideas with friends. I love to read blogs! I get so many great ideas from my daily reads. Here, in an attempt to give back, I'm going to share thoughts, ideas, recipes, and who knows what else. So, here goes....

Some days are long! Some days just seem to have a lot of hours to use and segments to kill. With the start of summer, we've been having a few of those kind of days. By 5:30 in the afternoon, when the Texas heat and mosquitoes make the outdoors unappealing, when dinner is hopefully in the works, when my husband has yet to be seen, and when television time is used up, Mommy has to pull something out of the hat. So, out comes the box of musical instruments, out come some old scarves (that I never wear but don't have the heart to throw away), and on comes the music. We all grab an instrument..or two...and we have a big old hoedown! I get a little exercise, the children let out some pent up energy, and we all march around the house banging tamborines, jingling bells, banging music sticks (I bet those have an official name), and waving scarves like a bunch of crazy people. With all of that activity, my heart rate quickens and I imagine myself actually burning calories instead of consuming them; it is such a happy time of day! If my husband happens to walk in during this jamboree, I know he thinks his wife has finally lost it! Today it struck me that if I would just move that box of instruments and scarves into the family room, they would be much more accessible for this kind of activity.

Instrument accessibility =Greater frequency = A happy way to end of the day!