Saturday, May 25, 2013

(almost) the best day (ever)

It's almost the best day ever!  Guess what arrived?!!

Cookbooks!  Not just any cookbooks.  No, The Pioneer Woman cookbooks!

I have to admit, I was surprised to see these gems.  Last week, I ordered them and have been checking daily to see when they'd arrive.  Sadly, their expected arrival date was May 30th.  So I almost hit my head on the ceiling when the post-lady rang the doorbell.  I knew exactly what those packages were and I stepped outside and yelled, "Thanks!" as she climbed back in her car.  If she would've been standing there, I believe I would've kissed her.  Honest.

Oh dear, I thought I might shriek in excitement and pass out.  But then, I couldn't look through the new one, which our library didn't seem to have.  I could've put a hold on one from another library but, I knew, I had to have these for my own personal collection and I would've renew them for the rest of my life but, they might catch on to that soon or later.  Don't ya think?

And sorry, I wasn't about to leave my perch in this warm, comfy bed on this cold rainy, perfect-for-layin'-around day just to find the perfect backdrop for this photo.  My apologies. 

Remember I told you Miss K and I made PW's Restaurant Style Salsa?  Well, it's almost gone.  Worse yet, Handsome Husband and I are the only ones eating it.  Let's just say that I ate it for breakfast two days in a row and for lunch, and that the roof of my mouth is now completely raw but that hasn't held me back any.  I'll also add that Handsome Husband claims the hottest thing he eats is mustard.  Mustard y'all!  It's sad.  But he's eaten this salsa like candy.  Like candy, I say!  We're in love.  With Pioneer Woman.

On a totally unrelated subject, Handsome Husband is out with our neighbor for some manly bonding at Sears.  Ya know, where they hang out and drool over tools for hours.  He loves that kinda stuff.  Well, I get a text with a picture of a grill.  OK, can I just say that I've been fighting every cell in my body not to run out and purchase a grill, patio set, burgers, brats and steaks because there's just something about Memorial Day that screams cookout and friends.  (Not to mention, we still have a grill and patio set in Virginia that's never made it here.  Sounds like time for another yard sale back home.)

I kindly asked him not to entice me with photos of grills because I'm weak and I'll go buy one in a second.  Don't tempt me.  He replied he was just looking at our options and so I reminded him to keep his options to himself.

OK, enough rambling.  I have cookbooks to drool over, dinners to collaborate, and grocery lists to make.  Oh the excitement!
Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


The man is sound asleep in his bed.  Has been since just before six.
He was up late last night with all the storming and
holing up in the bathroom.
It wasn't a fun time.
I sit anxiously awaiting his cries.
He went to bed with a headache.  I'm sure from lack of sleep.
Ever since birth, that boy has required a solid amount of zzz's.
The dryer just stopped and I pray that he sleeps on.
He's barely even changed position since he first got in bed.
He hasn't had any dinner and I fear he'll awaken with a hearty appetite
and keep me up all night 'cuz he was born with the curse.
The curse of my crazy metabolism that screams,
"It's time to eat!"
every couple hours.
Poor guy.
On a totally different subject but, still having to do with food...
 Miss K and I made P-Dub's Restaurant Style Salsa.
Heavenstobetsy, it's so, so...words escape me it's so dang good!
Then, to extinguish the crazy-good burn,
I helped myself to some banana pudding.
It was only two spoonfuls.
OK, really it was like four.
What can I say?
There is no chance in Hades for a toned beach body.
I'm watching as the sky grows darker and darker.
I keep a constant eye on The Weather Channel and
pray we don't end up sleeping in the bathroom again.
Oh, it is so not fun.
Miss K is at a friend's.
The sports banquet was tonight and I got stuck at home with the man.
Evidently there was a small soiree afterwards and all of her friends were there.
Texting madly, I gave in to the urge to double check the details.
Shoo!  Only ten more minutes 'til she's home.
I don't like this weather.  At least there's no tornado watch.
Only calling for thunderstorms from 1 until 5 a.m.
I hear the low roar of our neighbor's semi pulling out,
headed for Mississippi he'd said earlier.
The wind is quiet tonight.
Thus far.
I put the garbage can, basketball goal and archery target in the garage.
We've battened down the hatches,
prepared for the worst,
hoping for the best,
praying all the while.
By now, everyone is "bedded down" for the night.
The man remains deep in slumber.
No worries.  I checked in on him.
He was sweaty and so I peeled off some of his covers
and turned the A/C down some more.
We always sleep better when it's cooler.
Snug as a bug in a rug.
Everyone except Handsome Husband,
who's most certainly dining on steak of some sort.
Oh to be him.
Well, some days.

twenty-two on tuesday

1. The sun is shining.  Praise God.
2. I'm exhausted.
3. We spent time holed-up in our basement bathroom last night due to the storms.
4. Handsome Husband was in Kansas but, he's fine.  I'll be happy when he returns.
5. I'll be ecstatic to high-tail it home when June rolls around!
6. I've never seen wind blow like it does here in Illinois.

7. When the wind let up, we ran upstairs and I sent everyone on mission to get things for holing-up...blankets, pillows, flashlights.  We're not accustomed to this.
8. As we were scurrying around, dumb-dumb Dais decides to pee on the man's floor.
9. How would I ever hear a tornado coming if the carpet cleaner's going?!
10. My heart mourns for the people of Oklahoma.
11. We're alive.  thankyouJesus.
12. I picked up a piece of glass to fix the broken basement window.
13. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of two cookbooks that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
14. I need more cookbooks like I need a hole in the head.
15. Only 5 more days of school left.  Five.
16. We have 3 graduation parties to attend this weekend.
17. I keep telling myself my child will not be t.h.i.r.t.e.e.n. on her next birthday.

18. Or that we'll be parents of a seventh grader.  Or that my baby'll be 7.
19. The man (a.k.a. my baby) made pumpkin pie this weekend.  He likes to cook.  {smile}

20. In addition, I made not yo mama's banana pudding (for the second time) cuz I'm high maintenance and snobby when it comes to food.  I like it rich and buttery.  Try it.
21. The only thing that could beat it come close is the cooked "naner puddin" Thelma and I had with coffee as we sat in the suh-weet rustic ~no kids, just mamas~ confines of the Jenny Wiley.
22. Storms'll be back for another round tonight.  Sayin' my prayers.  Maybe you could say one too?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Miss Dais and Max-a-Poo

We sure have had a crazy time here this past week.  Crazy Daisy's in heat.  Mr. Max-a-Poo's driving us batty.  Needless to say, it's been a fun couple weeks.  (dripping with sarcasm)  So, in appreciation of their "better" days, I'll share an excursion in the yard from a couple weeks ago.

Have you ever tried to sneak up on a dog?

Well, it's impossible.
Miss Dais with her perky little ears.

"Is that a shock collar?"  We get this question all the time.  No, it's a tracking collar.  Dais is a Walker coonhound and she likes to run.  I mean RUN! 

While I was away in Kentucky, Handsome Husband let her out after breakfast one morning and she wouldn't come back before he left for work.  So she was stuck outside all day.  When he got home, he looked at the GPS and she'd run 22 miles!  Twenty. two. miles. I say.

They've ruined our yard digging for ground squirrels.  They're checking one of their holes here.  Evidently, there was some action that we weren't aware of.

Happy Friday friends!

cuz he said so

It's been said that women have a sixth sense.  There're times when I know better.  When my better judgment says, "Uh-uh sister, that ain' gone work."  There're times when I follow that voice, and then there're those when I don't.  I reel it in, tuck the covers up close around its neck and put it to bed, trying not to think twice about it.

Le'me take a step back.  Yesterday, while waiting for Handsome Husband to arrive home from work, the Littles and I played two-square. 

Yeah, that game.  The one with a big bouncy playground ball and a server. 

The man patiently awaited his turn.  He sat calmly on the ground beside us playing with sticks and rocks and things.  All of a sudden we heard the crash of breaking glass.  I look over and see that one of the basement windows is bashed.  I look back at him and he has this face.  The face that says, "What just happened here?!"  He didn't even know what he'd done!

Needless to say, I'm all "What in the world?!  What're ya doin' kid?!"  I quickly got over myself, we've all broken a window or two.  It's a piece of glass, it can be fixed.  An easy fix.
So, the night proceeds on as usual.  Dinner.  A game of h.o.r.s.e, throw the baseball a while.  Finally, baths are taken, teeth brushed, prayers are said, and hugs and kisses goodnight.  I tell Handsome Husband we must do somethin' with that window.  Only problem was, I'm not a fan of basements.  If it's a finished, well-lit, cozy kinda basement, well that's fine and dandy.  If it's not, count me out!  (Ours is the latter.)  Needless to say, I wasn't jumping on the bandwagon to head-up that project, simple as it was.
"There'll be varmints and critters comin' through that hole." I say.  "No," he replies, "Mice only come in in the winter.  It'll be fine."  Fine until somebody rolls over and locks eyes with a rabid coon,  his mouth drawn back, teeth glarin' and a nasty growl coming from the depths of his angry belly.  I could just see us wakin' up to an animal apocalypse...snakes, crickets, mice, coons, feral cats, you name it.  But sweeping my sixth sense along with any fear under the rug and crawling safely into bed, I feared not.
Well, it's clinically proven that men don't know everything.  It's common knowledge that they'll never - not ever - stop for directions unless we, as women, agree to get out at the gas station and ask ourselves.  And then, they still don't want to be seen doing this.  They'd never be shamed into stoopin' that low.  Yes, men have their flaws.
So, we never cover, stuffed or patched that huge hole in the basement window.  Cuz he said so.  Long about 2:30 this afternoon, I realize there are two big, black, buzzin' flies in my bedroom.  You know the kind, they're huge, they bzzzzzzzzz way more than any normal fly.  They're all hyped up on pollen and trained kamikazes.  Yep, those kind.
I venture out of the bedroom because the suicide attacks and constant buzzing's really startin' to get to me.  I'm beginnin' to lose it.  Low and behold, I hear more.  I proceed investigating the various rooms of the old farmhouse and I find they're in every room, every stinkin' room!  There're no doors, nor windows open, just that silly hole in the basement window.
So, the moral of this story is...don't always trust the words behind those suggestive, strong lips of Handsome Husband.  God gave you a sixth sense, use it!  Even if you don't want to venture into the dark, cold, scary basement.   

Monday, May 13, 2013

so I wanted to share it too...

In my day, whether it be morning or afternoon, I try to sit down, check my email.  You know, check in electronically.  So, today, during lunch, I did the usual...check email. respond. check new pins. etc. etc.
So, I go over to Raechel Myers' blog, because I happen to like her cheery disposition, her realness and her sewing and fashion and so on and so on.  She posted this (you'll find it embedded below.)  At first, I wasn't too into it.  See, when I listen to books "on tape" or sermons, I have to vibe with the voice.  It has to "work" for me and it has to "flow".  Or I shut it off.  That's why I don't listen to books on tape.  I'm quirky like that I guess.

Anyway, something held me there.  Something paralyzed my fingers from clicking pause and moving on.  The story Matt Chandler tells is so raw, so beautiful.  It moved me.  So I wanted to share it too...


two more weeks. two more weeks!

We woke up this morning whooping it up (eww, I don't like that word, whoop)  that there're only two more (real) weeks of school!  Can you believe it?!  After I got my little bugs on the bus, I began obsessing about our timeline.  Two more weeks.  Two more weeks to clean. pack. prep for Father's Day.

A thought crossed my mind.  Beach-worthy body.   Is there such a thing?  After eating four, I glared at the chocolate chip cookies Handsome Husband had left on the counter.  (He was to carry those to work and dispose of them there.)  I wanted to throw out every stick of butter, jar of mayonnaise and slice of bread in this house!  Immediately, I hopped on over to Pinterest where I made sure I had this and I began work on this

Later, I brewed five bags of green tea (they were small bags).  Green tea contains nutrients that help block fat absorption and help raise metabolism.  (I don't think I need either of those seeing as how I have to eat something every couple hours just to ward off headaches and the shakes.  But someone in this house thinks they're overweight.  I won't name any names.  It's not me.  It's not the littles.  I'll just say that I disagree completely but, it's not my body afterall.  So, I can only say so much.)  Plus, green tea helps your body utilize carbs more efficiently and, it contains powerful antioxidants that slow the aging process and help fight cancer and heart disease...says Dr. Oz.

To my green tea (totaling 3 quarts of water/tea), I added one sliced lemon and one orange plus a handful of mint leaves.  Lemon is good for digestion, oranges are packed with Vitamin C which helps break down fats, and mint is an energy booster.

We'll see how see the next couple weeks go.  I'm, by far, no fan of greek yogurt, but I'm bound and determined that we will eat healthy.  A chicken salad makeover is first up. 

I'm tired of Handsome Husband and I groaning about how we wished we looked.  I'd come face to face with my almost thirty-four year old body that's birthed two babies and isn't perfect.  Until I realized I had two weeks before we hit the road.  (Really it's four, but I tell myself it's two so I can bust tail to get in shape.)  We can't cook like Paula Deen and Ree Drummond and expect to look like we want.  Although I do love those ladies and their calorie-rich recipes but, let's face it, no ranchers here. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

it's not always a pretty picture

I'm out of the fog.  The dreary slump I was in.  It's presence has lifted and floated away on the cool spring breeze.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps it brushed onto the sleeve of a passerby in the hall of this old farmhouse.  It seems there are others that're restless now.

Just last night, my poor little man had baseball practice and he's not having much fun this year.  There're 20 kids on his little team and he's just not enjoying it so much.  The coaches are so serious and there are 5 or more of them keeping patrol on the youngsters.  Answer me this, why not split it up into two teams?  This isn't the little league world series, can we just have fun while learning the basics?  I told him we'd finish out this week and see how it goes.  If he doesn't like it, well by golly, we'll quit.  I'm not a quitter, never have been, but the older I get, the more I say, Is it really worth it?  The strife, the torture?  We're talkin' a six year old playing baseball.  He loved tee ball, played 2 seasons.  And he loved soccer.  He even loves baseball in the yard.  Whiffle ball with friends.  It's not going to ruin his college application:  2013 - quit the little league team at age 6...I'm sorry son, you're not accepted.  Whatever.

A meltdown slipped its way into our evening.  I'll be honest, school's almost over.  And every year, I become more and more lax with bedtime during the last month.  Lately it's been 9 o'clock before he's settled in.  I think it's taken it's toll on the poor guy. 

After practice, he ran over to join some friends on the swings.  I let him play for a brief minute or two while I packed my chair and book in the car.  By that time, he'd made his way over to the tennis courts.  I told him it was time to go and he stormed past me with eyes like daggers.  He grabbed his bat bag and asked if I had his bat.  Nope, I surely did not.  His coach had it, returned it to him and we were off to the car.  He was hoppin' mad and I explained that we had to get him in the tub and if he was hungry, he could have something to eat but, we didn't have time to stay at the park tonight.

By that time, he was in total meltdown mode.  He was fumin'.  It all ended poorly with 2 smacks of the butt.  I washed him as he cried through the whole bath and while brushing his teeth.  I could tell it was the meltdown cry.  He told me he didn't like me and I was mean to him and I tried kindly explaining that we didn't have time to play but, we could go back another day.  I explained how the Bible says you should treat others the way you would like to be treated.  He wasn't too kind and neither was I.  So, I apologized but, I refuse to put up with nasty attitudes, we don't put up with that from his sister and we surely won't with him either.  We can't always have what we want.  He calmed down, I prayed with him and told him how much I loved him no matter how many times he tells me he doesn't like me.  He settled in and I went outside.  Handsome Husband was due to arrive any minute and I wanted him to be aware of the situation and that I'd taken care of it.  There was no need to revisit the issue.  I don't know that the poor little guy had been defused but, it sure seemed that way.  He was in bed and exhausted. 

I walked out to the garage where I grabbed a few things that needed to come in and Miss K comes out announcing the man was crying loudly in his bed.  I asked her to check on him and I would be in in a minute.  Handsome Husband arrived home and we surveyed the garden, giving Miss K a few minutes to work her kind, sisterly magic.  Handsome Husband entered the man's room and questioned What was the matter?  There was lots of sobbing and our poor man blurted out, "I just wanna go home to Virginia."

With those long sobs and that sad plea, my heart dropped and my mind wandered.  Lord, what is your plan for us?  The coffee shop/bakery is still under construction and 6 months behind its original opening date.  I got word that due to the cost of restaurant-grade appliances, it would be a while before the kitchen was open for business.  I thought that was my calling?  I'm not a public speaker, I'm not a leader, I don't like being in the forefront.  Give me costumes, set design, some behind the scenes part and I'm happier than a pig in mud.  Cooking, baking, it's where I belong.  It's my gift.  I thought we were called here for multiple reasons, that being mine.

We've all struggled to be here.  The kids have struggled with school.  It's slower and behind the level in which they left.  One of the teachers has been a complete disaster.  She's young.  A first or second year teacher and her way of handling the children is, well, I'm just gonna say it, it's awful and immature and, and...AWFUL!

We all miss our friends, our family, our animals.  Yes, things change.  Home as we know it has changed but, there's no place like home.  We've been looking at options of leaving.  Going back to the east coast.  Or farther west.  Either way, we don't feel like this is the place for us.  We don't fit in here.  We struggle to hold our tongues and battle the forces that wage against us because we're new and we don't want to stir the pot.  At the same time, are we doing ourselves or better yet, our children, a disservice for zipping our lips?  Can you compare one town to another when they're on totally different levels?  We're made fun of for the way we talk, the things we say, the food we cook.  Everywhere we go, there're eyes.  They follow us.  They wonder why we lock our doors (if your stuff was stolen, you'd lock your doors too.)

Thelma and I were talking this week and I mentioned this to her.  What was our purpose in coming here?  And so, like Thelma always does, she put things in perspective...I'm sure you've learned things while you've been out there.  And she reassures me that while pain lingers in the cracks and crevices of my heart, there's always something gained.  And so I thought about it.  Long. and. hard. 
She was right, I'd learned many things.  God had used us in many ways.  He's stretched us...taking us far from the place we call home and learning to make it without our family.  Learning to trust others so quickly and rely on God has been a large part of my time here but, also gaining a new found love and appreciation for those we now call friends and family.  He's sustained us.  He sent us to stay with incredible people for I know not how we will ever repay them, for our money is far from what they need.  To this day, I still feel indebted to them and I wonder, will that feeling ever go away?  It is a constant reminder of the love you can so generously give to others.  I've prayed for ways to repay them but, God has humbled me in a sense that maybe it's not something but in a gesture of passing on the kindness that they've shown us to someone who passes through our life.  I guess only time will tell. 

Then, we happened upon this rental house with its large kitchen, just perfect for feeding a slew of kids.  It's housed laughter and bonding for which I am grateful.

There are small things too.  Our patience and love for each other has grown.  Handsome Husband and I have been on more dates here than we have in ages.  It's the only thing that keeps me half sane.  Our kids are more tolerable of each other.  Fourteen hour drives' and moving to the middle of Nowheresville will do that to ya.  They've made plenty of friends but, in the meantime, they play basketball together and venture out to the pines and build forts, play in the barns.  Not to say that arguments don't ensue regularly.

Yes, there is so, so much we have learned, are learning.  More than I can type.  And still, so many unanswered questions lie in wait. 

But isn't life like that?  You just never know what's around the next corner; good, bad or indifferent.

I feel weak airing out my feelings here like dirty laundry.  Typing each painful letter onto the screen but, I've been reading this and so, I came across something I had to share...

~Jan Karon on Ruth Graham's poetry:  "This woman has had the courage to lay herself bare on the unafraid to let you know that she has suffered.  She's unafraid to let you know she feels depression and pain and anguish.  I love that in her.  I love her complete openness, her lack of any timidity about showing you who she is.  And it's not always a pretty picture."

Maybe I should think of it that way.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teachers Appreciation Ideas

We've been hard at work on Mother's Day gifts - I cannot enlighten you, there are eyes that might see - and Teacher Appreciation gifts...
Three things crossed my mind.  What woman doesn't love coffee, flowers and chocolate?  OK.  So, maybe not every woman but, most?  I found the Starbucks idea below on Pinterest, the other two are my own but, aren't they sweet?!  I can't wait to give them to our teachers!
Starbucks gift cards...
A small potted rose bush... 
And, mmm, chocolates..