Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What the heck?????

I know Black Friday is all a memory now but for some reason I just can't get it out of my mind. I, personally, don't shop on Black Friday mainly because I hate crowds but I do have family and friends that love the adventure. After watching the news reports and talking to some of those friends, I am really wondering WHY they do this each year. I saw so many instances of people behaving not only badly, but criminally. Shoppers were assaulted both inside and outside the stores. There were so many robberies and thefts, so much ill will and discontent that I cannot reconcile that with what I think the Christmas season should be about. Christmas is purely a celebration of the birth of our saviour (and if you don't believe that then you really can't call what you celebrate "Christmas"). I really don't know what mowing down your fellow man to get to the last Xbox or pepper spraying your neighbor to get a cheap flat screen tv has to do with celebrating the birth of the Messiah! It really makes me sick to see all of this commercialism and consumerism. People are complaining about how they can't afford to pay their bills yet they go out and blow thousands of dollars on gifts. Do they really think that the recipients NEED those gifts? Do they think that somehow they will be better people if they go deeper into debt buying gifts for EVERYONE they know? I actually know a person who thinks that if she doesn't spend thousands of dollars on her 2 kids ALONE then they will suffer...Suffer from what???? No, they will suffer when the bank forecloses on their house. They will suffer when there is no longer any food in the house to eat. They will suffer when they don't have a winter coat and it is snowing outside. They WILL NOT suffer because they didn't get every single new toy that is out there. They WILL NOT suffer if they receive LESS THINGS for Christmas. People need to get their priorities straight! Now I am in no way criticizing ANYONE for buying their loved ones gifts for the holidays. I just want people to re-examine WHY they feel the NEED to overspend and overextend.  Now, I have a little confession to make....I used to be a lot like those people. I thought that I had to buy more and more each year to "out do" the previous year. Then we lost almost everything. We had to close our business, we were months behind on all of our bills, there wasn't much in the pantry to eat, we had $36 in our checking account and it would be 2 weeks before my husband would receive his first paycheck from his new job. I have never been so scared in all my life. How in the world were we going to feed 5 children and 2 adults for 2 weeks on $36???? To make matters worse, hubby needed most of that money for gas to get to work for those 2 weeks. It was a VERY dark time and I questioned a lot of the decisions we made up to that point. That was 8 years ago and while we are NOT rolling in the dough, we are making ends meet (even if we have to pull those ends a little hard sometimes). Know what else? Not one of us can remember any of the Christmas gifts we had those "good" years! Nothing! Our Christmas's have been pretty lean since then (a little out of necessity but mostly because of choice) but we remember all the details of those celebrations. My 2 youngest kids have loved our "simple" Christmas celebrations. They get the one or two things that they truly want with nothing that will simply be put in a closet to be forgotten about. We all get to spend TIME together because we are not out running around trying to get a deal on something. If truth be told, your kids really don't want ALL those gifts. The greatest gift you can give them is time with you. It doesn't cost anything and you don't have to take your life into your own hands at the mall to get it. It's a WIN-WIN for everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After....

Whoever invented elastic, I love you oh so very much! I am using your invention right now and probably for the next couple of weeks. Yes, I did what 99% of all Americans did yesterday-EAT TOO MUCH! It was soooooo good though:) We had the big feast here at our house. The last couple of years I have gone to Florida for Thanksgiving at my grandparents house but my husband could never come because he had to work on the Friday after. Last year I decided that I don't ever want to spend another holiday away from him so I promised him I would host it at our house from now on. Wish I could convince the Florida bunch to come here but that probably won't happen so we had our family that lives here over. We ate, then we ate and when we were done eating, we ate again. When everyone left, we ate again. This afternoon, guess what I did? Yep, I ate again. Therefore, I love the inventor of elastic. For if it were not for this invention I would be wrapped in a bedsheet stuffing myself with the remnants of pecan pie. Come to think of it, that isn't exactly a bad thing, is it?
Anyway, yesterday was a blessing as I got to spend time with my family whom I love very much. Lots of laughs were shared and I just have to give a big shout out to my husband and my twins. I could not have pulled off this dinner without them! Hubby made sure we had a cooler full of ice, my thanksgiving newspaper (for reading after dinner on the couch while I looked like a stuffed tick!) the leaf in the table and so on. My son did ANYTHING I asked him without so much as a whimper. My daughter really shined yesterday. She made all the appetizers by herself and helped me so much with the prep work and cooking. She is going to be quite the catch for some lucky man....MANY YEARS FROM NOW! We prepared all the food except for mashed potatoes provided by my inlaws and my mom brought her cranberry salad that I adore!!! Only one hiccup with the cooking really though. My turkey was a 24 lb'er. Yeah it was HUGE!!!!But it was on sale and I just couldn't pass it up. I was figuring it would take about 8 hours to cook so we got up at 3am to put it in the oven. My husband woke back up at 5:30 to go hunting and came in and woke me telling me that he thought the turkey was almost done! There was no way I was leaving that warm bed again until at least 7 so I told him he was mistaken and I rolled over and went back to sleep. I checked on the turkey at 7:30 after I did the morning chores and ....the stupid thing was done!!! How in the heck does a 24 lb turkey cook in 4 1/2 hours???? My son kept calling it the miracle turkey. I told him the miracle would be keeping the thing warm until 3pm (dinner time) without it being as dry as sawdust! I thought about calling everyone and telling them to come over at noon but there was no way I could get my homemade rolls done and get the house straightened up by then so 3pm we waited. About noon, hubby carved it up (wasn't too hard, pulled on the bones and the entire turkey fell apart!)and buried the meat in the juices. Needless to say, it wasn't piping hot but it was good regardless. The best part was just having so many people that I love, sitting around the table just being together. My little granddaughter was there and she just brightens up everything. Unfortunately, I never even once brought out my camera. That's typical me, too busy enjoying the moment that I forget to capture it. Oh well! Last night I told my family that I am taking today off. No cooking, no cleaning (okay I did vaccum) and I am going to sit and read blogs as long as I want....Mission accomplished!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Crackers

This is one of my (and my kids) all time favorite snacks.

Take some ritz crackers (however many you want to eat) and place them on a cookie sheet.
Smear a little (or a whole lot!) peanut butter on them.
Place a ginormous marshmallow on top of each peanut butter slathered cracker.
Put them under the broiler for just a few minutes. Watch them carefully! You just want the marshmallow to get a little brown and crusty.
Remove from broiler and let cool for just a few seconds. This step is VERY important because biting into a hot marshmallow is not the kind of thing you want to ruin this yummy snack!
Enjoy the gooey, peanut buttery, salty, crunchy snack! I just did :)

Occupy Wall Street....

I have just watched yet another news report about the Occupy Wall Street movement. If you are a protestor or sympathetic to this movement, you may want to quit reading this post right about now. I am all for peaceful demonstration, standing up for your beliefs, trying to "right" wrongs, but this occupy thing is really just an excuse for lazy people who want to blame everyone else for their failings. Most of the protestors are very young (college age) so I really doubt that they were greatly effected by anything Wall Street has done other than the fact that they are having a hard time finding jobs in their chosen fields after college.(Boo freaking-hoo) Oh wait...if they are camped out how are they attending classes? How are they getting to work? That's right, they aren't. They actually showed a guy who said into the camera, "I quit my job so I could be here full time." What a moron! These people are using this "movement" to avoid growing up and being a responsible adult. Yeah, life is difficult right now, but life will always be difficult. Better to learn to handle it when you are younger and can get by with some big failures. Everytime I see them I want to scream, "pack up your crap, get off other peoples' property, get a job and stop acting like a child who really needs some discipline". I am really at the end of my rope with all of this nonsense. Why on earth does the media seem to think that these people should have their 15 minutes of fame? Are we really that far gone as whole that everything that everyone does needs to be televised and reported about? I don't care that you think Wall Street is evil. I don't care that you can remain camped out for months with bathing. My concerns are more along the lines of how can I save a few extra bucks this month so I can buy a few Christmas gifts, how can I squeeze a little more out of my grocery budget to make up for other bills that I can't pay, how can I keep doing the things that need to be done more efficiently? Evil is ALWAYS going to be around, it doesn't need to televised 24/7!
Stepping off my soapbox now....
I must make a confession. I have an addiction. I crave it when I get up in the morning. I think about it during the day. The only thing that curbs the urge is to just give in. My addiction? Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies! I just can't help myself. As a matter of fact, I am sipping on one now. It is smooth (duh, SMOOTHIE), creamy, peanut buttery and banana-y and oh so satisfying. I kind of stumbled onto it from Pioneer Woman. She made Pumpkin Smoothies and I just had to try them out. While they were yummy, I got to thinking about other ones that would really blow my skirt up. I just adore peanut butter and I had frozen bananas in the freezer (it would be stupid to store frozen bananas in the fridge!) So I just started throwing stuff in the food processor. Let me just warn you. Don't make a whole lot if you are using a food processor instead of a blender, which I do not have. (I own one but I have NO IDEA where I may have stored it) Ask me why...Glad you asked. I was making the pumpkin smoothie recipe and was following it to the letter. The processor was pretty full and when I turned it on, smoothie was running out the sides all over the counter. Not a pretty sight! Anyway, my recipe is not exact because, well, I didn't measure anything but it will give you the general idea.


The night before, freeze a couple of ripe bananas. The next morning, throw the bananas in the food processor along with a big scoop of peanut butter, a scoop of greek vanilla yogurt, a nice pour of honey and a couple of cups of whole milk. Blend it all up until it is mostly smooth. Taste and add anything you may think it needs. Sometimes I add a little more peanut butter because I like to live on the edge. Then pour into a glass and enjoy.

 If you do this before anyone else wakes up, then you don't have to share with anyone, you can drink it all by yourself! Unfortunately, my kids knew I was making it and I had to share it with them. I do plan on trying different things in my future smoothies but I just can't imagine anything else being as good as peanut butter and banana!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


We just went and saw the movie Courageous last night. Yeah, I know. We are a little behind the times as this movie has been out for a few months now. I love all the movies by the Kendrick brothers but I think this one has convicted me the most. If you don't know about it, it is about a man who loses his little girl in an accident and the aftermath teaches him that he wasn't being the father/husband that God called him to be and he makes a resolution to be that man. I spent most of this movie in tears. Some of it was the emotion of the tragedy but more of it was being confronted with my shortcomings as a wife/mother. There were a couple of scenes where this man's children just wanted to spend time with him but he was too busy. All that kept running through my mind was how many times my kids would ask me to play a game with them and I would tell them I was too busy. Too busy cooking or baking or cleaning or WHATEVER. I was choosing to spend time working at busy work instead of just spending a few minutes with my kids making memories. It is amazing how God can use a movie to show us what we are doing wrong. Anyway, if you haven't seen this movie, I strongly urge you to seek it out. Let God speak to you the way He has spoken to me. Let Him teach you, lead you.

I took a little break from blogging but it lasted a little longer than I had expected. Throughout the day I would get all kinds of ideas to write about but, when I had time to sit and write, nothing would come out. I think part of my problem is I just haven't been very organized with this blog. I just assumed that the ideas would flow as soon as I sat down. NOT! So I think that I may start writing ideas down and setting up a kind of schedule of topics. I love schedules! I am a huge planner. I like to have a clear direction of where I am going and how I am going to get there. I am not much of a "winger". My husband has learned that I cannot just "wing" something on the spur of the moment so he makes sure he gives me plenty of time to plan. I wish I could be a little more spontaneous but I just don't think God made me that way so I am going to stop trying to fight it. I have been reading tons  a few blogs and I like how, on certain days, they have a certain topic so I am thinking of doing a variation of that. We'll see.

One blog that I am LOVING right now is Always Learning. Lori tells it like it is whether or not you want to hear it. I think God nudged me to her because I was under the mistaken impression that I may be in charge. Deep down I knew that wasn't true but I wasn't really interested in admitting it. Well, after reading her blog posts I have come to the conclusion that I have something to say: My husband is the head of our house, I was NOT created to be his equal but his helpmeet, I CANNOT do everything my husband does because God didn't plan it that way, I have a bit to learn about the meek and mild spirit (I can be loud and bold a bit more than I like) and if I think that there is something she posts that I think is wrong, she can back it up with scripture (You can't fight that!) Like I said, God uses all sorts of ways to convict, teach and lead. Are you paying attention????

Thursday, November 3, 2011


After celebrating the twins birthday twice and Halloween 3 times, I am glad I am done celebrating til Thanksgiving! I am also glad to be done with Halloween candy! That stuff is EVIL!!!!
The twins had a little party with the grandparents and their older brother on Saturday.
                                                               The Birthday Duo

My parents and my father in law. Mother in law is hidden by hubby's very cute head!

Honestly, I have VERY few pics of this kid doing anything NORMAL!

                                                                           The Cake (made by me!!!!)
Dontcha just love this cake???? I was so proud of myself. It turned out great and was soooooo yummy! There is ganache dripped over the top and when the birthday boy took a bite, he said "Oh my ganache, that's good!" He's so clever:)
Since their party was a few days before their actual b-day, we took them to dinner and a movie on their special day.
As for Halloween....We started out with a celebration in September when we went to Disney. We went to the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. It has sort of become a tradition for the twins b-day, but this year we went in September instead of October. Then we had the Fall Festival at church on Sunday. It was a hoot! They kids loved it, our granddaughter loved it, our friends loved it.

This is our sweet lil Ella. She was so sick and I was ticked that her mama drug her out in the cold but at least she had fun.

This is our friend, Jason and his daughter Karley.

This was for the Trunk or Treat at the end of the festival. A great time for everyone! And MORE EVIL CANDY!!!!
You would think that Halloween was celebrated enough but nooooooooo. We had to do it AGAIN on the 31st. I had no plans to take the twins trick or treating because we live out in the country and would have to drive to town and go to one of the neighborhoods to do it so I just planned to stay home. Then I get an email from the "youth guys" at church and they wanted to take the kids to Haunted Davisboro.(It's a tiny little town down the road from us that had a haunted house and the main street stores-there's just 2-gave out candy)so I trekked them the 10 miles to meet up with the kids from church. All in all, they had a great time but I am glad it's over!
Of course no Halloween would be complete without some jack o lanterns!

 I think my boy's face says it all!!! Pumpkin inerds are gross!

The finished product! And yes, my daughter wears her tiara EVERYWHERE!!!!
I love Fall out in the country!!! ALMOST as much as I love Winter!!!! Our leaves are changing (and falling!) ,the air is cooler and crisper. This is such a change for a girl who grew up in SW Florida. The only changing of the seasons were hot and hotter. Palm trees and pine trees don't change whether it's spring or fall. While we don't live where we get a lot of snow, we have had some in the last couple of years. Here is our house after the first snow last year.

This is the entrance to our hunting lease. I have yet to see anything quite so beautiful.
I hope we get some snow this winter. Last winter we got an ice storm. NOT the same thing as snow!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

12 years ago today, I remember EXACTLY what I was doing. I was 6 months pregnant with twins and I was at the office having a little problem with what I thought were gas pains. My back was killing me and I was getting more and more uncomfortable as time went on. I couldn't leave though. I worked for my Dad and he and my Mom had just left the day before to go on a cruise and I had to take care of getting the bank deposit done.  Once I finished, I called my doctor and told her nurse what was going on. You know what she asked me? "How long have you been in labor?"! LABOR??? I was only 26 weeks along and this didn't feel like what I thought labor would feel like. She told me to come to her office so they could see what was going on. I went to my husband's office (he worked with my Dad too) and before I could tell him what was going on, he tells me that our brand new tractor-trailer (we owned a trucking company) that we hadn't even made the first payment on had been stolen over night. LOVELY! Poor guy had a lot on his plate running my Dad's business while he was out of town and running our own trucks and here I am telling him that I may or may not be in labor! Long story short, I was in labor and at 8:38 that evening our daughter was born weighing 1 lb. 9 1/2 oz, 13 1/4 in. long and at 8:39 our son was born weighing 1 lb. 14 oz and 13 3/4 in. long. I had never seen anything so small! They had their ups and downs (mostly ups, Praise God!) and after 70 days in the NICU, they came home. Fast forward 12 years, our twins are thriving, healthy, happy, normal almost teenagers. I am not sure where the time went but I am so grateful to God that he gave these kids to us and has been by our side every step of the way in raising them. Clayton and Vanessa, you came along and perfectly completed our family. We love you more than words can ever say!!!