Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Wish I Were...

Recently Sanders told her Sunday School teachers that Brad and I are taking her to Tortola for Spring Break. I have no idea where that crazy nut got that idea, but we are definitely not going anywhere for Spring Break -- even though I would really love to get the heck out of Dodge. One thing Sanders needs to learn is that this family of hers will not ever go anywhere for Spring Break because her family is a little busy in the spring -- you know, growing things. This year we also have the house construction in the mix, so we have no extra moola.

But, it has been dreary and rainy here all week, and it is really making me long for a Spring Break (although my kids haven't had theirs yet...fingers crossed that ours will be blessed with good weather). If I had my choice, I wouldn't go to Tortola, though I loved our trip back in November. I would go to my favorite place on earth:


I would sit by the ocean, looking out at the crystal clear water:

Maybe I would do a little snorkeling, although the water might be a little cold for me still since it isn't quite June...:

I would take a lot of boat cruises and soak up some nice Florida Keys rays:

And, of course, there would always be a nice boat drink and some Jimmy Buffet somewhere close at hand.

I don't know how many of you follow Mary Loyal, but her family is in the Keys this week, and I just want to beat her...She has really been rubbing it in on her blog! And according to my weather app on my iPhone, it has been nice and in the mid-80s there this week (although rainy today and tomorrow, which I can do without, thank you very much) whereas we have reverted back to winter around here for some reason. And, to top it all off, I haven't been to Islamorada since these pictures were taken back in September of 2008. That is way too long.

So, who's with me? Who else needs a Spring Break?

(Oh, and I hate to break it to poor Sanders, but Brad and I are going with the same story that my parents always told Hunter, Graham, and me: it is a Florida law that kids are not allowed south of Orlando. Thus, no kids in the Keys...Sorry! ;-))

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Menu Whatever Day It Is....

So, last week when I said I had posts for you, I meant I had a post for you. It has been hectic around here to say the least. I haven't done much cooking in the past two weeks, so I am just going to do this as a summary, not in a day-of-the-week format.

Here we go:

Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika: We seriously ate this three or four times for dinner. Once we ate it over grits, and it was really good that way.

Bow-tie Pasta Lasagna Made into a "casserole" like I did here.

Tortellini Pasta Salad: This was the only new recipe I made, and it was a winner. I made it for some friends, and they say they really liked it, too. I added chicken that I had also marinated in the dressing and broiled to the top of the pasta. I substituted kalamata olives for the black olives because I think black olives are nasty (just my personal opinion!).

I think that is about it. Thankfully we had some nice people to feed us lately, or we would have starved (okay, not really...). Hopefully I will be back to normal posting this week! Have a good one!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Home Building: Walls!!!

I know. I've been a great blogger lately. But the good new is, I have some posts for you today!
So, we have walls being put up on the house now! Super exciting!!! The kids love to go out there to look because the contractors started in the their area of the house with the walls, so we can see where their bedrooms are.
So, the photographic evidence (sorry for the quality...I took these with my phone):
This is Sanders skipping down the hallway between the guest room and the dining room towards the living room:

The dining room:

I took these pictures Tuesday evening, and that is as far as they had gotten in the framing. This is a view standing in the living room looking back toward the kitchen, laundry room, and master bedroom. The part that doesn't have flooring on it yet will be the screened porch:

As you can see, we are making progress! I am getting really excited!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Tidbits

1. Happy Friday, everyone! I am so happy that is is Friday and that means that I don't have make any school lunches tonight, get any backpacks ready, or wake up early tomorrow morning!

2. I have been drinking a lot of Naked Juice smoothies lately, and they are super good. I highly recommend them if you like fruit juice because they have lots of added vitamins and other health benefits. I really like Blue Machine and Reduced Calorie Tropical.

3. I also highly recommend the daily emails from Bible Gateway as they give you health benefits of another kind! I get the Verse of the Day and the Girlfriends in God Devotional. Today's verse is Romans 15:13 -- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Click here if you would like to receive any of their emails.

4. So, we have a ton of bee boxes in our field because Brad needs the bees for pollinating the blueberries and watermelons. For some reason, the bees have been congregating around our house big time lately. The other day when I got out of my car, I could hear them buzzing on my screened porch.

However, something interesting has happened. Here are the bees (and a few wasps) that are alive:

And here is our bee graveyard:

Some of those bees are still alive and just crawling all over the dead ones, but I have never seen so many dead bees in one spot. I don't know why they are dying either -- we haven't sprayed anything; we aren't swatting them. They just seem to be falling dead!

5. I took this cute pic of the chillens when we were out at the new house the other night:

6. Okay, maybe I'm not happy it's Friday...those little angels in the picture above have been bickering the entire time I've been writing this post!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Window Shopping

I have been doing a little browsing on Piperlime tonight. Of course, I can't actually buy anything, but I love to look at things that I "need" for the spring and summer.

First, let's start with some wedges to wear with all of the jeans that I will be putting on my "need" list:
I will also be needing some white jeans. Last year I was on a search for some white skinny jeans, and I never found them. I gave up, thinking that my legs were just destined to look like big, fat pieces of sausage in white skinny jeans, but I have since lost some weight and want to take up the search again...this time I am going to go into the search knowing that it just might not work out. However, I think they would look really cute with a tunic top!

I also need a new pair of bootcut white jeans.

I have said before that I wanted a pair of boyfriend jeans, and I have never gotten them, so they are still on my "need" list.

I also like the wide-leg jean trend. All of my jeans are pretty much on the jegging side, so I will need a pair of these...

And there you have it...actually, I could go pretty berserk on Piperlime. I love that site! But these are just a few things that I love...and I will probably continue to love from afar.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Home Building: The Latest

Well, we are rolling right along with our little construction site.

And I tell you what, it is a lot more exciting to go out to look at the progress of our house now that there is actually something to look at! I need to get some more pictures, but I don't have any for you tonight. I do have a couple of updates, though:

1. They started framing the house last Tuesday. At first Robert said that it would take 3-4 months to frame, but now he is saying 12 weeks. Now, I know that 3 months and 12 weeks is six in one hand, half dozen in the other, but I am hoping that now that he has moved to using weeks instead of months that the amount of time will start to dwindle down a little. If you ask me, 12 weeks still sounds like an awfully long time for framing. We are not building the Taj Mahal.

2. I had my first meeting with our designer last Thursday. I hesitated whether or not to use a designer during our construction, but if you know me at all, you know that I am pretty indecisive. And, I know what I want the house to look like, but I don't know how to get that from in my head to reality. Virginia is going to help me with all of that. During our first meeting, I showed her our house plans and told her my ideas for the house, and she shot out some ideas that went along with what I had said. I left that meeting so excited for the house to be finished -- now I just have to wait for it.

3. Today Virginia and I met at Ferguson to plan out our plumbing order. Two hours later, I left, very excited but very nervous. I know our first plumbing plan is going to go over our allowance, so we will then have to go back and scale it down or make substitutions to it. I was telling Brad tonight, I know we have our overall amount that we are budgeting for the house and our overall amount that we are budgeting for plumbing, but then when I see how much one sink costs or how much one bathtub costs and then we start to add them up, it sort of gives me heart palpitations. I guess the larger numbers don't seem quite as real to me, if that makes any sense? I mean, I know they are -- and they are all coming out of our pocket -- but the smaller ones adding up just seem to hit home more. I don't know...maybe I am the only one who sees things that way!

4. Next on our agenda is cabinets and lighting.

Now that we are making actual decisions that have to do with the inside of the house, it is all starting to feel more real to me, like it might actually be happening! Pictures to come soon...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Monday

Hello! I hope y'all have had a lovely Monday. I don't think I have sat down all day aside from riding around in the car carting the kids around town today. My back is feeling it!

(I just sounded like such an old person, but really, my back is killing me.)

Anyway, here is our menu from last week:

Monday: Salads with rotisserie chicken on top -- quick and easy.

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, recipe courtesy of Mary Loyal

Thursday: Tacos made with Taco Chicken. I absolutely love that chicken. I think I could probably eat it once or twice a week. Seriously. I also love that it is quick and easy. I am all about quick and easy since I seem to be getting home later and later (and late more often) these days -- it is that time of year for us farm folk.

Friday: I was out of town, and Brad was Mr. Mom.

Saturday: Brad was Mr. Mom again.

Sunday: Sausage and Rice and broccoli. (Margaret describes how to make the Sausage and Rice -- or, as she calls it, Dirty Rice -- on her Monday, here. I am too lazy to type it out right now, so go on over there if you wanna know what it is!)

There you have it...nothing too terribly exciting. Brad has told me that he is "wasting away" and "always starving," so the challenge for this week will be to cook meals that will satisfy him but not make me gain 100 pounds. Should be interesting...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This and That

1. Brad came home from Orlando with this very large guitar (it is made out of some sort of very thick cardboard or something). The kids think it is the best thing ever. Brad thought we could maybe hang it on the wall. I think he is nuts.

2. Speaking of Brad, he has finally caved in and joined Facebook. They had a session on social media and how it can help your business at the convention he attended last weekend, and that gave him what he needed to know that Facebook is okay and not just for losers who put too much information on the internet (like his wife, apparently). So, if you know us in real life and haven't yet, friend Brad!

3. Because of Brad's new-found Facebook addiction, I have implemented a No Technology After 9pm rule in our house. We have been getting to bed entirely too late -- and that is not all Brad's fault; I am on the computer, too -- and I am trying to get us there earlier. I am pooped.

4. The cleaning ladies came to my office today and "cleaned," which Hunter and I think is basically code for poured some really smelly stuff around the place to make it smell sickeningly flowery. See, they were coming in and not really cleaning at all, so we wrote a note when we sent the check in a couple months ago about how they weren't doing that great of a job in our office. The next week we walked in after they had been there, and the smell hit us like a ton of bricks. And now I always get a headache when they have been there, and it isn't any cleaner.

I guess that is a lesson to be careful what you wish for...

5. Daylight Savings Time is this weekend. Does anyone else feel like it is really early? I am going to be out of town Saturday night and have to be at church at 9:15 Sunday morning for a meeting because Tyler is making her First Communion this year. That means that I have to get up at what would essentially be 5:45 to make it there on time. And I am not a morning person.

Okay, the 9pm bell just rang, so I gotta peace out...Have a lovely night!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Monday: I Love A Good Bandwagon

So, I am not doing so well keeping up with my menus. Sure, I am doing great at making them, but I am not doing great at actually making what is on them. So, I am going to jump on the bandwagon that Margaret recently jumped on and start posting my menus from the week prior. That way I don't feel like Oh gosh, I can't make that thing that I didn't make last week because it was on my Menu Monday and everyone will think that I am making the same thing two weeks in a row, but really I'm not because I didn't actually make it and now I have to think of something totally new and exciting to make that my kids will eat...

It's been stressing me out, man.

So, here's what we actually ate last week (hold onto your's really exciting!):

Monday: Panko Chicken Parmesan (I made this before I posted Menu Monday, so it stuck!)

Tuesday: grits and eggs

Wednesday: Lowcountry Produce Tomato Basil soup and Palmetto Cheese on Fritos (we were going to have Palmetto Cheese sandwiches, but all of our bread was moldy...nice). If you have never ordered online from Lowcountry Produce, do it. Now. Ditto for Palmetto Cheese.

Thursday: Chick-fil-a (we had to go back to our old town for an 8-year checkup for Ty, and we ran through the drive-thru on the way home after a 2-hour wait at the doctors' office where we did not get to see our pediatrician but rather the nurse practitioner...super nice.)

Friday: Crock-pot BBQ (what do you know, another Menu Monday item!)

Saturday: I was at the wedding, Brad was in Orlando at some convention thing.

Sunday: leftover Crock-pot BBQ

Last week was a bit of a dud on the cooking front because a) I was a bit scattered all week as I drove back and forth to our old town every single day, some for work and some for hair appointments/doctor visits and b) I never actually made it to the grocery store. Hopefully this week will be a bit better, and hopefully this new Menu Monday format will work out nicely.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Greatest Thing Since Grits

I went to a wedding last night, and they had a photo booth at the reception. I have to tell you, it was the best idea EVER, and I am not the only one who thought so because there was always a long line of people waiting to get their pictures taken. There were all sorts of fun props, and the pictures just got funnier as the night wore on.

I give you Exhibits A-I:

Even the Mother of the Bride got in on the fun (with my brother in the mullet wig):

I am trying to think up what function I can have where I can rent a photo booth -- or maybe I just need one for the house?

Friday, March 4, 2011

25 Things

I like to read in People when they do the 25 Things column with different stars. They can be total random, wacky facts or completely normal -- you just never know what you're going to get.

I have been noticing in my Google Analytics a lot more new readers, so I thought I would do my own 25 Things to sort of tell y'all more about me, wacky facts and all. If you already know everything about me, well, just deal! Here we go...

1. I am the oldest of three kids. I have a younger sister and a younger brother. Brad and I thought that it was such a good template for a family that we decided to just copy it! (Okay, it wasn't quite that just worked out that way!)

2. If you ask me a question, whether I know the answer or not, "your mom" tends to be my answer. For instance, if you asked me if I was ready to go, I would say "Your mom is ready to go." I even do this to my brother and sister, and it drives them crazy. They always give me some comment about how we have the same mom.

Juvenile? Yes.

3. I tried out for a part in Prince of Tides when I was around 10. It got down between me and this other girl for the part of one of the daughters, and I got to memorize lines and give them in front of a camera and everything (what is that called -- I know there's a name for it...). I didn't get the part, and I have never watched the movie.

4. I always wanted to be a doctor, and that was what I started out Clemson intending to be, but then I realized that I would actually have to study. And I met Brad and decided I didn't want to go through all that school -- I wanted to get married.

5. I really like when people leave comments on my blog (ahem. hint, hint).

6. I have been getting migraines since I was around 10. It has been a barrel of fun ever since. They are still not under the greatest control.

7. I have always been very shy, and when I first meet people, they tend to mistake my shyness for snobbishness. I think I am getting better about this, but it has taken me a very long time.

8. I used to think I was pretty intelligent, but now I think I'm just a moron with adult ADD.

9. If I have had a couple of drinks, I do a lot of cussing. I blame my language skills on working in our packing house.

10. The lady that played Bubba's mama in Forrest Gump sang at my wedding. She was awesome, and she also sang at my sister's wedding, my aunt's wedding, and my great-grandmother's funeral.

11. I have relatively large babies. Tyler was 9 pounds and Gibson was 9 pounds 3.2 ounces. Sanders was my shrimp at 8 pounds 2 ounces. I like having big, chunky babies.

12. My brother, sister, cousin, and I are the fifth generation to work on our farm.

13. Um, I burp a lot. And loud. I do, however, know when it isn't appropriate. My dad used to ask me "Do you do that in front of your in-laws??" but now he just tries to outdo me. He always loses.

14. After I decided I didn't want to be a doctor, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My aunt told my parents that I should major in Accounting since I was good with numbers (I had helped her out in the office at the farm some during my summer vacations), so I changed my major. And I got my first 4.0 that semester.

15. I am very sarcastic.

16. My favorite movie is White Christmas. Some other faves are Sweet Home Alabama, The Devil Wears Prada, and Bride Wars.

17. I love American history, especially if it involves the American Revolution or the Civil War.

18. I have had a mortgage, I have a construction loan, I pay bills, I have three children I'm raising, but I still don't consider myself a grown-up. I'm not sure when the day will come that I do consider myself a grown-up!

19. I am a full foot shorter than my baby brother. I come up to his armpit.

20. I don't watch much tv. It isn't because I'm against tv; I just don't have time at night to watch anything, and I haven't gotten hooked on anything enough to DVR it. I have always watched Grey's Anatomy up until this season, and I am recording it, but I have yet to catch up. I like to put on CMT or VH1 to watch videos while I'm getting ready on weekend mornings, and I watch Fox and Friends on weekday mornings. That is, I watch Fox and Friends until the kids stop getting ready and just stand and stare at the tv, then I have to turn it off -- I feel like I am so cut off from the world.

21. I have always thought if we had another boy (No, I am not pregnant. No, I am not planning on getting pregnant.), that Royal would be a great name for him. It is a family name like the rest of my kids' names. Brad does not agree with me.

22. I have a really hard time making decisions.

23. I don't like to call people I don't know. This includes the pizza man. However, if someone sends a statement to the farm telling me I'm late on a bill, I have no problem whatsoever calling to tell them they are wrong. The lady from the gas company cowers when she hears me on the other end of the line.

24. I love chocolate. I love mint. I think mint and chocolate together are the nastiest combination ever made.

25. I am not a great housekeeper, especially when I am hardly home and my house doesn't have any closet space. This place is always a mess, and it bothers me.

Okay. Now that I have read over my list, I realize that I am a weird chick. Well, actually, I already knew that -- but now y'all know that, too. Please keep reading! ;-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bird's Tea Party

Tyler wanted a tea party for her birthday this year, so we invited over all of the little girls from her class and all of her girl cousins and partied down. As Tyler put it, it was "the wildest tea party" I've ever attended -- I guess that's the sign of a good time!

My sister-in-law printed the invitations for me. They were light pink, hot pink, and teal. I meant for them all to have the zebra ribbon tied around them (below), but I was in Michael's with three kids and wasn't really able to think when I bought it, so I didn't buy enough -- so half of the invitations had the ribbon and half had the flower...

I let the girls drink out of actual tea cups and pour their own (iced, sweet) tea from the little pitchers. Sanders got a tea set for Christmas, so we used that, plus all sorts of cute little mismatching cups and saucers that we pieced together from all over the place. I even used teapots as decorations. I think it turned out really cute!

I found little takeout boxes at Michael's around Valentine's Day, and got Brad to grab enough for party favors. Most of them went with our color scheme, but he did grab a couple of red ones in there. I let each girl take home a "doggy bag" for her party favor plus a few extra pink candy goodies.

I made the banner out of the zebra ribbon (I went back and got more) and scrapbook paper. I thought it turned out really cute, too. (Don't y'all love our faux, used-to-be-but-isn't-anymore fireplace? When we moved and renovated this house we were never planning on actually living here, and that was a place we could cut out some money, so we are fireplace-less.)

I promise I'm not about to catch her on fire -- it just looks that way in the picture. However, Ty did keep getting pretty darn close to the flame. You would think she learned her lesson that time she caught her hair on fire when she was two...

It was a really cute party, but I was also really glad when it was over -- it was a lot of work for Mommy! But, Ty had a great eighth birthday, and that is what matters! Now I can rest up until August when I have the next two birthdays...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I am in charge of Dr. Seuss's Birthday Party for Sanders' class tomorrow, and I got some Cat in the Hat cupcakes made for it. They turned out adorable:

That is, they turned out adorable until some lady pulled out in front of me when I was on my way home. I had to slam on my brakes and swerve into another lane (thankfully there was no traffic in that lane -- that would have been really bad, but I wasn't thinking; I was just reacting) to avoid slamming into her, and when I did that, half of the cupcakes dumped over on their sides. Now, instead of being nice and cute, they look like this:

And then the lovely lady pulled up beside me and gave me a look like it was my fault that she pulled out in front of me and tried to kill me and my cupcakes.

There is no salvaging these cupcakes because the icing is buttercream and is really just all over the place. My only saving grace is that the kids are in Kindergarten and won't really care what the cupcakes look like, but I was really excited about them.

Damn, damn, damn.
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