Monday, August 31, 2009

Scripture Memory Project: Week 3

My scripture memory verse for this week.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12: 1-2 (NIV)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: August 31-September 6

From last week: The cheddar jack quiche is always a big hit with Will (as far as quiche goes). Claire even ate most of hers today. I'll admit ... we bribed her with promises of post-brunch candy! Will calls this "man quiche" if there is such a thing. I did try a new breakfast recipe that was not on the menu plan ... baked oatmeal. It kind of turn out like the Quaker oatmeal squares, but grainier (I used the steel cut oats. Next time, I will use rolled oats), more dense, and messier. I think it is supposed to be served with milk, but I couldn't really decide. (I tried it both ways.) I liked it, but Will did not. It made a whole 9x13 pan so I have a lot of leftovers to eat for breakfast this week! Finally, the chicken crunch was a big hits with adults and kids alike. I was a little leery of the curry at first, but it smells a lot stronger than it tastes in this recipe.

We have a lot of carryovers from last week in this week's menu because we just had a lot of leftovers last week and I didn't end up cooking everything I planned. This is a short week too because we have travel plans for the holiday weekend.

This week's menu:

Monday: Leftover pork tenderloin, green beans, steamed squash

Tuesday: Eat out after Claire's soccer practice (we are trying to work on using the coupons in our Citipass book)

Wednesday: Grilled cheese, tomato basil soup (on sale at Costco last month) or leftovers

Thursday: Wheeler Mountain Chili, corn muffins (This will go nicely with the fall-like weather we are supposed to have this week. We are having some friends from church over to watch the Titans' game ... football season is upon us.)

Friday: Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

Check out other menu plans here.

A "sweet" first birthday party

My sweet friend Colleen had the cutest birthday party for her little munchkin who just turned ONE. I took a ton of pictures, so bear with me.

The theme was Cami's Sweet Shop. She had this table set up full of candy and little bags for the kids to fill and take home with them. Remember pixie sticks? I forgot how much I loved that tube full of colored sugar!

Note the candy bracelet napkins rings. A very cute idea!

Claire was in heaven! This girls loves her some candy. When she wasn't in the swimming pool, she was hovering near the candy table.

Marshmallow treats for the little ones. Don't let his size fool you. This boy has a mouthful of teeth and will tackle for a M&M.

My friends ... Colleen, Holly & Claire.

A little party guest ... Miss M belongs to my friend Claire.

David wanted down badly, so he could: (a) run towards the swimming pool or (b) swipe some candy.

Who knew it would be so cold in August ... too cold for a pool party? The kids didn't seem to mind, although there was lots of shivering and blue lips when they emerged from the water. The birthday girls' daddy was the only parent brave enough to get in the pool ... he had his work cut out for him.

Here's the birthday girl!

... and her family.

Time for cake (and a little sunshine too)!

The big girls ... Sophie, Delaney & Claire

All the big kids.

The birthday cake aftermath. In retrospect, maybe the pink icing was not such a good idea!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

While Daddy's Away ...

Things have been a little crazy around here the past few weeks. Will was gone to Arizona for 6 whole days and left me home alone with the kiddos. Let me just tell you that single parenting is for the birds! I had the busiest work week I have probably had all year to top it off. I was exhausted when he finally got back home.

We did manage to squeeze in a little fun while Daddy was gone. We went swimming with one of our Friday playgroups.

This is Claire and her best buddy at church ... Avery. We are so sad that they won't be in the same class this year at preschool. Their birthdays are only a few days apart, but the cut-off fell right in between.

While we were cooling off by the pool, Will was here ... playing golf for 2-1/2 days before his work meeting started. It was like 110 degrees there and he played 116 holes of golf over the course of his trip. We're lucky that he lived to tell about it and didn't die of heat stroke.

This is Will and his business partner Chris. Props to Will for taking such good pictures on his trip ... he knows I'm a scrapbooker!

Will returned on August 20th, which (unremembered by me) was our 10th anniversary of the day we got engaged. I completely forgot. But apparently, he had been planning this little shindig for a couple of years. When he got back on home on Thursday afternoon, his parents magically appeared to watch our children while we took a little trip to a local park. (We got engaged at the Boston Commons in Boston--like Central Park in NYC.) He surprised me with this beautiful diamond wedding band. Needless to say ... I was SHOCKED. I actually have this as a loaner right now because they had to order my correct size and the jeweler is resizing and repairing my engagement ring so I don't have it right now either. I can't wait to have the whole set together.

I can't believe my sweet husband pulled this off unbeknownst to me. Especially since I didn't even remember the significance of the date! Yikes! Will is definitely the romantic in this relationship! (Pardon my horrible nails! I'll admit it. I am a nail biter ... a horrible habit that I seem only to break when I am pregnant.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scripture Memory Project: Week 2

My scripture memory verse for this week.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

What passage of scripture are you currently committing to memory?

Menu Plan Monday: August 24-30

From last week: Do not make the breakfast pizza. It tasted okay, but mine kind of turned into a disaster since apparently my oven is not level (and the egg/milk mixture proceeded to run off the front of my pizza pan into the bottom of the oven). But, overall, it seemed like a lot of work for an at best mediocre meal. The beef steaks with mushroom gravy, on the other hand, were very good and fairly easy to make.

I haven't been to the grocery store yet this week so I don't have my sale/couponing results to share. Hopefully, I will make it over there tomorrow.

This week's menu:

Monday: BBQ sandwiches, baked beans and chips

Tuesday: Kids night at Chick-Fil-A (I know I said here that I would not be going back for a while, but Claire has soccer practice and I have open house at her MDO program, so we need to grab a quick meal)

Wednesday: Turkey burgers, tomato coleslaw, chips

Thursday: Rotisserie chicken, squash & zucchini mix, fried apples

Friday: Grill out with neighbors -- hamburgers, Asian slaw and corn casserole

Saturday (am): Cheddar Jack Quiche, fruit salad

Saturday (pm): Birthday party ... we will eat there or grab something quick on the way home.

Sunday (lunch): Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

Sunday (pm): Chicken crunch, white rice, asparagus

Check out other menu plans here.

A "little" sewing

I really have been doing lots of sewing. I just haven't had time to post any pictures. But I wanted to post this "little" project I finished up for my dear friend Emily's sweet baby girl who was born June 24, 2009 at 26 weeks.

Rubye Mae (named after both of two of her great grandmothers) is truly a MIRACLE. It has been such a blessing to watch this little girl grow. God is so good!

Here are a couple of pictures of Rubye Mae sporting her cute little pillowcase dress that I made her. Oh, and on a sewing note, the pattern I used was for a doll dress. Rubye Mae only weighed 2 lbs., 2 oz. when she was born, so I needed something tiny to fit her.

I promise to have more sewing pictures up soon ... I'm working on back-to-school outfits for the kids and matching beach outfits for the kids to wear on Labor Day weekend trip

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In the Word

Well, yesterday was a much better day. I had a very productive day at work, came home to happy (and much less snotty) children, enjoyed a very pleasant dinner with my kiddos, and then watched a movie before I went to bed. Thanks for the encouraging comments!

Back to my point. I've mentioned before that our pastor is teaching this awesome series based on Jeremiah entitled "LOST: The Church in Post-Christian America". We've been out of town for the past couple of weeks, but this past Sunday's sermon did not disappoint.

The gist of his sermon was that non-Christians think that Christians are hypocrites because Christians don't spend time in the WORD or truly believe the WORD. We have bibles everywhere, except in our HEART. We are bible CARRIERS only. Christians don't truly meditate on God's word and HIDE it in our hearts. We can't make Christ and God's love REAL to others until it is REAL to us. Why is it important to KNOW the WORD?

  • when Jesus was tempted, he responded by quoting scripture
  • when the world tells us we are worthless, the WORD defines who we are
  • when we are angered or enraged, we want the WORD to respond
  • the WORD does it own work
  • the WORD comforts us when we are hurting or down
I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church. I was there every time the doors were open, whether I wanted to be or not. (Most of the time I wanted to be there.) Staying home was not an option in my home. Each week, I had to recite a memory verse in my Sunday morning class. I still remember some of those verses. However, for my adult life, I have failed at meditating on God's word. Failed miserably. And I want to change.

So ... the point of me telling you all of this. I have been struggling with this for a while ... how to take my walk with Christ deeper. I don't spend time IN THE WORD like I should. I get busy doing other things. I truly believe this is Satan keeping me from focusing on what is truly important in my life. Satan likes to keep us busy, distracted.

I am making a commitment, right here, right now, to memorize one verse per week for the remainder of the year. (That is 20 verses.) If I am trying to memorize this verse, I will meditate on it daily. They won't be long passages ... but they will be meaningful.

My verse for this week.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17.

(My friend, the Mama, has a really beautiful way to display your scripture memory verse in your home. I don't have anything quite this fancy yet. I'll work from an index card for now.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

I know it's Monday because ...

Traffic was horrible on my way to work this morning. (I think this has more to do with school being back in session than with it being Monday, but let's pretend.)

I left to meet a client about an hour away and it took me three tries to get on the interstate going in the right direction. I have been to this client's business MANY times.

When I arrived in said city, despite the fact that my Mapquest directions and navigational system told me to turn right, I proceeded to pass said turn, which made me about 15 minutes late for my meeting.

When I returned to my office from said meeting, I learned that a plumber was in our office and had turned to water off for about 30 minutes to do some repair work. I learned this after I had already used the bathroom in the potty I share with about 10 other people. It wouldn't flush. About 3 hours later, the plumber finished his work and turned the water back on. (I don't think anybody I work with reads this blog. At least, I hope not!)

When I was getting gas today, the heel of my shoe got hung up on the gas hose and I fell directly on my right knee cap. I almost cried. For real. I seriously thought I might have broken my knee cap. It is still a little numb and very sore.

The English peas I heated for dinner boiled over while I was upstairs getting David up from a very late nap. The liquid proceeded to run off my stove onto my counter top and into the floor. NICE!

When I was suctioning David's very runny nose out after his bath, it started bleeding. I feel like such a great mom!

Please pray that I have a better day tomorrow!

A few pictures from the weekend ...

We had a busy weekend! It was HOT and we spent quite a bit of time in the pool.

Thursday night, we let the kids play in the backyard on the slide, while Will grilled BBQ ribs for dinner. They were YUMMY! We haven't spent much time in the backyard this summer out of fear of being eaten alive by all the mosquitoes. It has been really bad this year and no amount of bug spray, spraying the yard or use of citronella candles seem to help. The last time I was in the back yard playing with the kids, I woke up with 50+ mosquito bites from my neck down to my mid-thigh. The next 2-3 days were miserable!!

Friday, we met with one of our playgroups at a friend's neighborhood pool and had a fun time playing with all of our friends from church. This was the first time I took both kids to the pool and actually feel like I managed everything well. This was also the first time David actually stayed in the baby float for any period of time too. Go figure. I do much better when he is contained!

Friday night, we went to my sister's house. While the guys watched all 4 kids, my sister and I cleaned out her bonus room closet and set up a sewing area for her. Now she has no excuse not to sew! It took us about 3 hours, but now she has a quite little place to sew and she can keep all of her stuff out. This was my birthday gift to her. I love it because it didn't cost me anything except a night hanging out with my little sis! Priceless!

Saturday morning started early ... for me anyway. I got up at 3:45 because I couldn't sleep! I hate it when I do that. I had everything all ready to take the kids to my parents' house for the day, but got a late start (despite being up so early) when David got choked eating breakfast and threw up all over himself (and his high chair). I was pooped and it was only 8:30 in the morning! We finally got to Meme and Poppy's house where I sewed a little and then took Claire to their neighborhood pool while David napped. We headed back to our house after dinner.

Sunday was church and naps and chores. Naps for the kids anyway! Here are some cute pics I shot of Claire after lunch. My mom made this dress for her and Claire was so proud of it. My friend Jennie saw her in her class at church and told me that Claire told her all about her new dress that here Meme made her. I love this dress, but my mom said she is never making another one because it required so much handwork. (She made two in a row ... one for Claire and one for my niece.) Maybe she'll want to make another one after she takes a little break! I'll bet she will after she sees these pictures!

Menu Plan Monday: August 17-23

Review from last week: You must try the Chicken Puffs. Very good for kid-friendly meal or a dinner for guests. The enchilada pie was good too. Easily serves 6 people and a good freezer option (to save for later).

Here are my sale/coupon results for this week:

Total groceries: $130.16

Total savings: $36.60

Total out-of-pocket: $101.28 (saved 28%)

This week's menu:

Monday: Leftover BBQ ribs, macaroni & cheese and tomato coleslaw

Tuesday: White fish w/lemon tarragon shells (from the freezer), salad

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday (pm): Rosemary Pork Chops, squash & zucchini mix, pasta side

Friday: Beef Steaks w/mushroom gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables

Saturday (am): Breakfast pizza, home fries

Saturday (pm): Dinner & a movie (aka date night with my hubby)

Sunday (lunch): Leftover buffet

Sunday (pm): Birthday party for a friend's daughter ... we will eat there or grab something quick on the way home.

Check out other menu plans here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What was I thinking???

I took the kids to Chick-Fil-A tonight. By myself. On kids' night. Will had a dinner program tonight and I was pooped after a VERY long day at work, so I decided to go to Chick-Fil-A so the kids could play for a little while after dinner (preferable until bedtime). When I made these plans in my head, and after I told Claire about said plans this morning, I remembered that Tuesday night is kids' night at the ole' Chick-Fil-A. I decided to go anyway. BIG. MISTAKE.

If I ever decide to take this voyage again, I have a few tips/rules that I will follow:

(1) Don't go alone. There should be one parent per unrestrained child in the restaurant.

(2) Don't sit where your kids can see the play area. Otherwise, they won't eat.

(3) Take your child to the potty before you order and get your food. Especially if you have not followed Rule #1. You might then have to ask some random stranger at the next table to watch your food while you take your valuables and all of your children to the bathroom.

(4) Let your child either (1) eat ice cream OR (2) play in the play area. Doing both would be way too overstimulating. Claire picked ice cream so we headed to Target afterwards to fill the time until bedtime instead of playing.

(5) Grab any open table you see as fast as you can!

I also have a few tips for Chick-Fil-A:

(1) If you see a family with unequal parent to child ratio, help the parent to his or her table with their large tray of food. Otherwise, the three-year-old will have to push the baby in his high chair to the table and this could be dangerous for your other customers.

(2) Free kids' meals should be for "kids". While I personally love to order kids' meals for myself at fast food restaurants, when you are running a big promotion, you need to limit the number of kids' meals a family can order or at least put an age limit on the free meals. There were way too many teenagers and childless parents in loitering in the restaurant.

(3) Train your employees to be a little more helpful to parents of young children. If you see that they are finished eating, offer to take the tray/trash. Help them get to their table with their food OR find an empty table for them. Offer to get them refills on their drink.

I am a BIG fan of the Chick-Fil-A, but this was not a good night for them in my book. I am tempted to right a letter to the store manager. I have been in other local Chick-Fil-A restaurants (at equally busy times) and had much more pleasant experiences.

This is not a DEAL BREAKER for me though by any means. I just need to vent a little. All done.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Evolution of a Scrapbooker

I got to spend almost the entire weekend with my little sister. We were all alone (i.e., without kids and husbands) and we had a blast. We tried to pack in as much girly fun ... okay, mainly just girly eating ... as we could.

Friday night, we had dinner at Zoe's Kitchen, and then finished the evening off with Ashley's chocolate martini. It was yummy! I seriously almost wet my pants while we were trying to take this picture. We had the camera balanced on top of a butter dish on top of my toaster oven and the self-timer kept messing up. Guess you had to be there?!?

We scrapbooked late into the night (and early morning hours) on Friday, and then got up and started again on Saturday morning. Ashley did all of her "scrapbooking" on and I did all of mine by hand.

I had Zoe's again for lunch (Will hates to eat there) and we fixed baked salmon and mango couscous for dinner. The mango couscous is divine. Must. Try. It. Now. We scrapbooked a little more after dinner and then Ashley headed home as Will and the kids returned from their trip to his parents' house.

Back to reality.

Okay, so I finally finished scrapbooking our 2006 family album this weekend. I have been working on that album since February 2007. I took a short break to work on Claire's first year baby book (which is no where near finished ... I think I got to coming home from the hospital), but it was certainly a long process. As you can imagine, my scrapbooking style has certainly evolved over the last 2 years.

Here are a few of my fave layouts from the book. This first one probably most defines my current style.

I was going through a MAJOR stamping phase when I made this page ... not so much there now. All of those flowers on the bottom of the pages were stamped by moi. This page is a little busy for my taste, but I'm not changing it now.

This is a good representation of my M.O. when I started this album in 2007. Plain and simple with lots of WHITE background.

This is the title page. I always hate making title pages and usually wait until the very end to make it. I like how this one turned out.

I did a lot of sorting/organizing/purging of my scrapbooking supplies this weekend while I was cleaning up and thought I would make a list of my TOP TEN favorite items. Here are my faves in no particular order:

1. paper flowers

2. 12-inch paper trimmer

3. Cricut die-cut machine (and accessories)

4. Stampin' Up stampin' scrup stamp cleaner (say that 3 times fast)

5. Xyron sticker maker (this is great for die cuts/letters I make on my Cricut machine)

6. dimensional adhesives (aka foam squares)

7. circle punches

8. Creative Memories tape runner

9. Creative Memories photo splits (for vellum paper)

10. DCWV paper pads (check Joann's for sales on these paper pads ... you can always find a great deal)

Girls' Night Out

This past Wednesday night, I went with three girlfriends to a wine tasting at Boxwood Bistro. My friend Colleen suggested this little outing and set the whole thing up. It is quite a good bargain too. For $15, you get to taste 6 different wines and they had a nice spread of appetizers too. We ended up ordering dinner from the menu (with a 10% discount), because the apps weren't cutting it with ALL THAT WINE we were drinking. We each got a different entree salad and they all looked yummy.

We will definitely plan another one of these outings soon! And bring a driver next time (or maybe our spouses). Oh what fun we had!

Holly and me.

Claire and Colleen

The four of us.

I wish I could tell you what wines we tasted, but they didn't give us a list and I honestly don't remember. It was a very balanced combination though, with a pinot grigio, 2 chardonnays, a grenache (I had never had this before and it was very peppery, but would be good with pork or BBQ flavor), a Cabernet and a petit syrah.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Washing Machine Woes

You might remember when I wrote about my stinky washing machine here.

After a lot of Internet research and tips from friends, here is what I came up with. I ran a cycle on hot water and added 1 cup of baking soda. This seemed to do the trick.

For those clothes that already smelled like mildew because they were (1) washed in the stinky washer or (2) damp items that weren't washed soon enough (e.g., towels and swimsuits from a day at the pool, sweaty workout clothes thrown into the hamper), I poured 1/4 cup of white vinegar directly into the wash with the load of clothes/towels, etc. That seemed to do the trick to eliminate the smell. And, surprisingly, my clothes did not smell like vinegar.

(NOTE: the vinegar trick also works when you are washing colors that bleed, like reds or you could use those handy SHOUT color catcher sheets, which are a staple at my house.)

Despite the fact that I no longer have a stinky washing machine, I am still dreaming of these ...

In the words of Snow White (which I've seen A LOT of lately), "one day my prince will come".

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meal Plan Monday: August 3-16

This is my menu plan for the next two weeks because Publix had a lot of good deals this week and I decided to stock up. Plus, my freezer is getting FULL and we needed to do a little cleaning out.

Here are my sale/coupon results for this week:

Total groceries: $195.78 (This is a lot more than I normally spend, but I was buying for 2 weeks of meals and did a lot of stockpiling.)

Total savings: $68.77 (35% savings)

Total out-of-pocket: $127.01 (plus tax)

Here is the meal plan for Aug. 3-9

Monday: Jambalaya w/shrimp and sausage, salad

Tuesday: grilled salmon, mango couscous

Wednesday: Girls' night out for me; leftovers (or frozen pizza) for Will and the kids.

Thursday: Chicken puffs, mandarin orange salad, mixed vegetables

Friday: Enchilada pie, corn, salad

Saturday: I am hosting a scrapbooking weekend for a few girlfriends. We typically either pick-up lunch and dinner or cook-in, but we haven't finalized the "meal plan" yet.

Here is the meal plan for Aug. 10-16

Sunday (pm): leftover buffet

Monday: BBQ ribs, skillet potatoes, mixed veggies

Tuesday: Polynesian chicken, rice, squash/zucchini blend

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: chicken taco burgers, cantaloupe, chips

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: Kashi frozen pizza, salad

Sunday: leftover buffet

Check out other menu plans here.