"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Saturday, July 30, 2011

a hangnail

you wouldn't believe what happened to me this morning!  because it's pretty unbelievable, that's why. 
i was changing the sheets on my bed and little starboy came clomping around the bed with one of his feet in a jones' snow boot and the other one in aleemay's boot. 
clomp clomp clomp.
starboy LOVES shoes.  he always has.  he's been my only babe to leave his shoes on, even as a baby.  socks too, for the most part... unless he's in bed.  but if you keep the shoes over the socks, he'll keep them both on... even in bed!  which, why would i put him in bed with shoes and socks???  well, laziness i suppose.  or that when i ask him if he wants his shoes off, his reply is no.  so... either way, it'd boil down to me being a lousy mom making her poor child sleep with shoes on his feet for crying out loud!!!  :P
anyway, clomp clomp clomp he came around the corner of the bed to me.  his snow boot caught the edge of my toenail and <literally> pulled it off. 
my toenail is hanging on by a piece of skin! 

1st thought:  OUCH!
2nd thought:  oh my gosh that is so disgusting looking!  gross!  (the kids all gathered around and were speechless.  all of them had the same look on their face, the "ouch/gross" look.) 
3rd thought:  what do i DO?!  yank it off?  push it back into place?  ouch either way!  ---so, since my sweet mother is out in the wilderness having the time of her life, rafting... i called my hubby to see what to do.  his answer (after, call your mom... oh wait, you can't) was "google it."  i love him! 
4th thought:  i should take a picture, this is so sick...

5th thought:  i know.  i should ask my friend i'll call "heather".  i bet she's seen this before!  -really, go see her blog and you'll see why i thought that!  she has 6 boys... need i say more?!

and now, to help get your mind off that:
the cute culprit!
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Friday, July 29, 2011

friday food post : chicken broccoli rice casserole (gramma's recipe)

this is a very easy meal that is so so so yummy.  my kids ALL love it.  i love it.  mr. me loves it too.  i suppose maybe not everyone in the world loves it, but they should because darn! it's good!!!
it's another recipe from my gramma's cookbook.  i'm not finished with all the pictures because it's only 3pm, but i'll take a few of the finishing steps to complete this post. 
here's the recipe:

and here's what that says: 
chicken rice casserole (diane's)
1 whole chicken or equivalent chicken pieces __ (cook and debone.  cut into chunks.)
2 10 oz. pkj frozen broccoli or fresh __(cook and cut up.)
2 cups cooked rice
2 cans of cream of chicken soups.
1 cup real mayonaise.
1 tsp lemon juice.
      mix all together and bake in 350 degree oven until bubbly. 
      top with shredded cheese the last 5-10 minutes.
i split the recipe in half today because we're down one person, but she's a big eater.
i love the chicken grilled.  it gives it the best taste!
dice er up with any cutlery you have (i thought this looked like an ad)
we had leftover rice pilaf that i added.  it was splendid, but regular rice (white or brown) is tasty!
mix it all together with a bit of lemon juice and dollop some mayo atop...
add the cream of chix soup...
and stir 'till it's mixed up!  easy as that!
 get it all bubbly and sprinkle some cheese.  any time a recipe calls for cheese sprinkled on top, i go liberal with the cheese (as you can see in the next pix)!

this is a 6 star recipe at our house (6/7 members LOVE it.  the little guy doesn't like to swallow chicken)

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

wednesday hair post 4

i found this really pretty hairdo i did on adejay back in septembhair or 2009.  she let me do her hair fairly frequently back then, but resisted the posing for pix (as part of the deal).  this one was so pretty that i made her pose.

she's so pretty.  she just said she felt dumb posing for hair pictures...  anyway, from the front it looks like a simple pig tail do.  but from the back:

pretty, huh?!  it wasn't too difficult either, if i remember right. 
  1. first, part off the front part of the hair as if you were doing a light half-pony (front part of ear to ear part). 
  2. split it in two sections.  if you want a side part, do it here, but bring it back to the middle at the crown).  if you want a middle part, make the two sections even. 
  3. put holders in each section.
  4. bring the crowned part all the way down the back.  put each side on her shoulders. 
  5. do another ear to ear part further back (pretty much splitting the remaining hair in half) and making four more ponies.  put holders in each.  now you have six ponies.
  1.  take a side pony that is in the middle on one side.  take out the holder and comb it sooth.  separate it in two sections keeping them both smooth.  tie them in a knot and bring the right one over to the bottom right pony and the bottom left one over to the bottom left pony. 
  2. repeat this with the other middle pony on the opposite side.
  3. not take a front pony and pull the holder out.  section it in two pieces and then comb them smooth and then tie them in a knot.  keep the sections apart, pulling the right side over to the right side bottom pony and the left one over to the left bottom pony.
  4. do the same with the front other side.
  • to make the knots look neater you may twist the hair a little bit.
  • you can also take those "pull over" hairs and weave them over-under-over-under (if you have four or five hands), but i didn't do that and i still think it looked pretty great. 

and here's a top view:

what do you think?!  are you going to try it???

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Monday, July 25, 2011

today and yesterday and even the day before that

i'm breaking this into three posts i guess.  one was just too long!  i'll start with saturday (the day before that)
saturday morning bright and early, i took the kids down to see my parents and my sister and brother-in-law.  the purpose of the trip was two-fold though.  adejay was invited by my thrill-seeking, adventurous parents to go on a week-long rafting trip with them and their friends.  the river they float is in the middle of no where and protected by the wildlife-protection-people to be a pack-in/pack-out area.  there isn't supposed to be any trace of people on it.  i haven't floated it, so i can't tell you if that's the case.  the only pictures i've seen are of people being sprayed to the high heavens with white water while they dodge rocks with their raft through the river.  i haven't seen litter in the background of the pictures mostly because it's all white water!!!  i'm totally stoked for adejay to get this opportunity.  i'm going to be praying like a crazy mama though that everything goes very very smoothly because when you're that far away from everything, even little things can go very wrong. 
a couple of years ago my parents raft flipped.  they got out and were fine, but the raft got plunged/stuck to the water up-side-down and ALL of their stuff was inside the up-side-down boat... after hours of all the men pulling and pulling and pulling on the raft there was success of getting the raft back to land but, everything my parents had brought (sleeping bags, clothes, tent, EVERYTHING) was soaking wet!  for pretty much for the rest of the trip they had to deal with soggy everything.  unfortunately they don't even camp in one place long enough so that their things could dry out.  they float during the day and sleep at night.  and they're in the mountains, so the night air isn't a "clothes line drying" type air. 
anyway, like i said, i'm really excited for adejay and i'm sure she'll make the most of the fun and adventure.  but, i am a little nervous for her.

it was good to see my parents and my siblings for the day on saturday.  i don't go down there very often, so it was fun for the kids to hang out at their grandparents house for a change!  we made some cookies for the trip and then we all went swimming at a local hot springs that we all love. 
i love to swim.  i love the water.  i usually introduce my babies to swimming and to the pool as soon as the outside pools start opening up the summer after the babies are born.  i don't remember when jones was introduced, seeming that he was born in the summer!  but usually it's about 3-5 months old.  i really want my kids to share my love of water and never have that fear that a lot of individuals have of water.  water is FUN!!!!!  but, having 4 kids that are all familiar with water but none of them are independent enough to just let loose is kinda stressful in a pool full of people!  aleemay is really almost independent.  and if we didn't have all the others to teach i'm sure she could've had it down last summer if not the summer before.  she strokes and kicks and is just learning to come up to breathe.  jones is my scaredy cat.  he finally gave in last year and decided he wanted to swim like a shark.  so he learned everything last summer and he's ready to start learning the strokes.  boo hasn't had much of a chance to get a swimming lesson.  she usually just rides on whoever's back will hold her.  she's my only one that hasn't liked to get her face wet.  it's totally my fault for not exposing her more to the pool... but with only two arms, i can't do it all!!!  she still loves the water and is pretty daring.  and then i have my little starboy.  wow!  he is READY to swim!!!  he'll dive right in and splash splish splash!  he also LOVES (with hearts on both sides) to float on his back with his head on your shoulder.  (loves it!)  he would be the perfect candidate to learn all the aspects of swimming this summer, if only i had six more arms!
we came home late saturday night and all i wanted to do was sign the kids up for swimming lessons.  here's what i found though:  most places won't really do lessons for anyone under 4.  lots of places offer "mommy and me" classes for 3 y-o (boo), but no real swim instruction especially for babies.  so, i think that sucks.  and i wish i had a pool (and six extra arms.  well, 8 actually) so that i could offer some lessons and get my kids taught at an early age.  i think it's easiest to teach them while they're still too little to touch anywhere.  as soon as they realize they can put their feet down and touch the bottom... why learn to swim then?!  anyway, so that's my swimming soap boat...  :)
go HERE for what happened on Sunday or HERE for what happened today.
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

the yesterday part

sunday was a wonderful relaxing, do-nothing day. we napped / watched movies pretty much all day long. it was gr-reat! at 6, we went to our new "young married" home group for the potluck and study. it was great.
here's kinda what we went over:
the holy bible is a proven source of history. it was handed down for generation to generation to generation all these years. there has been found a section of NUMBERS (the 4th book of the old testament) preserved by earth! every new artifact scientists find are word-for-word accurate to the current day bible. nothing has changed and it's history is so revered and respected that those early early early findings of (for instance) the dead sea scrolls are put on exhibit in hugely revered (to the scientific peeps) in museums.
the holy bible is FILLED with scientific truths that can be proven archaeologically in MANY different areas.
  1. the people that the holy bible talks about (old testament and new) can be traced back to exactly where the bible says they were when the bible says they were there. people that exist leave a mark. bones. culture. history. genealogy. the people of the bible can be traced. it is a great factual history book that is remarkably accurate!!!
  2. the surroundings (for instance, the animals and plants) that the bible refers to, are also accurate. so, that means that the type of surroundings that grow and live in the areas that the bible talks about are still in those areas. they are factual places that did exist and... lastly,
  3. the cities that the bible talks about (even way back in the old testament) either STILL exist (under the same name) or are proven to exist through archeology! that was new information to me. i didn't realize that you can go over to the area between the red sea up to the euphrates and tigris rivers today and find cities with the SAME NAMES that the bible refers to. then, you can research and find out that not only do they have the same name, they are actually the same place!!! i just think that's kinda cool.
what does all this mean? well, to me, it really means nothing more than what i've already known. i believe that the holy bible is God's inspired holy word. it is perfect. nothing needs to be added or subtracted from it for it to be any more powerful or less. it is exactly as He intended it to be to tell His people (us) what we need to know. but to unbelievers, these factual scientific findings are PROOF! there is NO OTHER BOOK or record that is comparable historically or scientifically like the bible is!
what a mighty and awesome God i serve. i am so glad that He left all that history and scientific proof for all the doubtful minds in our world. of course He knew what was to come...

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

the today part

today was our first "normal" day without adejay.  :(  we all miss her! 
we started our day off with chores going rather smoothly.  that was nice since we were down a team player!  i've been meaning to switch up the kids' chores and now was forced to.  so i got it all organized out and moved aleemay up to adejay's old chores, jones up to aleemay's old chores (a HUGE step for him, so let's pray he can man-up and get 'em done!), and boo up to some more responsible chores.  i had to add some new ones for adejay to take up.  her load is kinda light, but during the school year she has homework almost every night... so we have to allow for that. 
here's our list of chores and who gets what:
  1. *NEW* sweep and mop all the floors without carpet.  (this'll be nice since i just never seem to get around to it --until something sticky is spilled) (once/wk)~#1
  2. deep clean both bathrooms (once/wk)~#2
  3. vacuum all the carpet (daily) ~#2
  4. take the dishes out the dishwasher and put away the ones in your reach (without breaking them) (daily) ~#4
  5. empty all the little trash bins (in each bathroom and bedroom) into the big garbage and then replace the liners. (daily) ~#3
  6. take my (and otter's) laundry basket to the hall laundry closet and sort it (reds/whites/darks).  then fill the basket back up with whichever pile is biggest and bring it to the laundry room to be washed. (daily) ~#3
  7. take the clean clothes from the dryer and fold them into piles of who they belong to.  put away the linens.  (each child is responsible to put their own pile away but the folder is ultimately responsible for calling the other children for that task.  the folder also helps starboy with his pile) (daily) ~#1
  8. pick up the dog poop (daily) ~#1
  9. feed the dog (daily) ~#4
  10. water the dog (daily) ~#2
  11. *NEW (to promote better teamwork)* clear the table after meals, rinse off the dishes, and put away the food ~#1,2,&3
i'm excited to see how this works out.  and i'm sure you can stay tuned on that...
we also ran some quick errands and made a triple batch of cookies!  i had some organizing to get caught up on, so i made cookies instead.  :(  boo to me. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

friday food post : vodka cream pasta

(by Rachael Ray from The Best Burger in America Discovered!)

1 Tbsp. ExtraVirginOliveOil (once around the pan in a slow stream)
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 c. vodka
1 c. chicken stock
1 can (32 oz) crushed tomatoes
coarse salt and pepper
16 oz. pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 c. heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
serve with: crusty bread, for passing
heat a large skillet over moderate heat. 

add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. 

gently saute shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness.  add vodka to the pan (3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup).  reduce the vodka by half, this will take about 2-3 minutes. 

add chicken stock and tomatoes.  bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer.  season with salt and pepper.
this was my attempt of taking a picture of the aroma!  it smells AMAZING!!!!!

while sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it).  while pasta cooks prepare your salad and/or other side dishes. 
 little hands make light work, right?!
p.s. notice jones' recent school letter-work in the front.
 (tearing up the basil leaves)
(with a cute little on-looker wishing he could help!)

stir cream into sauce. 

when sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat.  drain pasta.  toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. 
 pass pasta with crusty bread.

(or chicken)
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

wednesday hair 3

the double headband braid:
almost a double rainbow... but different.

  1. you start by parting the hair sectioning off the front half and the back half as if to do a half-pony.  i tie the back half tight in a pony. 
  2. then you make another ear to ear part splitting the front section in halves.

  1. french braid the front section in one direction braiding it all the way to the end and fasten.  if you wish to leave some bangs out you can, or you can leave a small amount of hair to pull to the side with the back (second section) braid too if you don't like all the hair pulled back.  
  2. then french braid the second section in the other direction also braiding it all the way to the end and fasten.
  3. secure the two braids under the back hair pony tail and then undo the pony tail that holds all the back hair to cover up the ends of the braids.

this is a quick and easy simple hairdo.  i love the single headband braid, but sometimes you need a switch-me-up and this is perfect for that!!!

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

gratituesday - health

today i would like to publicly take time to thank the Lord for the health that He has blessed me and my family with.  we are all relatively healthy.  some readers might roll their eyes here because it is a known fact for lots of people that when you come over to our house to visit for a few days, you'll probably leave with a cough, sniffles, sneezes, or the full blown flu.  BUT, we're alive and happy and compared to a lot of the world, we have good health!
on saturday otter pop's mom took a fall.  on her face.  she's now suffering head pain (and not knowing completely what the extent of the injury is) and a broken wrist.  she's miserable.  she's a very independent lady that feels completely helpless!  it was almost certain that she suffered a stroke, but the drs were surprised when the CAT scan said no to that.  her broken bone and head injury was minimal and fantastic compared to the effects of a stroke (even a minor one)!
yesterday otter pop got hit by a car when he was out test riding one of the motorcycles he was working on.  he has some missing skin on his left elbow/forearm, but no broken bones and very little impact.  being t-boned by a suburban when one is on a motorcycle doesn't always end in the way it did for otter pop!
in the past three days i've gone through a lot of stress and worry.  i'm so thankful that God has protected us all and kept our health in a positive way.  it's very kind of Him! 
how's your health?!  do you have something that you're thankful for???

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Monday, July 18, 2011

monday menu

this menu i am putting in some lunch options because 1.) i asked the kids to help me with the menu and most of their suggestions were more lunch-appropriate and 2.) the kids are home all day, so i really need a better lunch menu than i do when they're not all home.
so, in no particular order or organization:
  • chicken/broccoli/rice casserole
  • L> hot dogs
  • L> sandwiches
  • home made chicken fingers (never made them before.  testing out this recipe) with sour creamed potatoes and peas
  • L> chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • spaghetti with cottage cheese on the side
  • french toast maybe with bacon (if otter pop's home that night)
  • nana's baked fried chicken with mashed potaters and buttered garlicky corn
  • cobb salad
  • won't be single for long vodka creme pasta -i haven't made this in FOREVER, so perhaps it'll make it on a friday food post!  (especially since the only recipe i have for it is on a piece of loose paper!)
  • hamburger ramen
  • crock pot apricot chicken with rice and oriental green salad (the kind when the salad is made with ramen noodles)
  • ground beef and spinach lasagna roll ups (pg 31 in hamburger book but tweaked with jumbo pasta shells maybe instead)
  • hamburger biscuits (a nicole special but made with leftover -frozen- pulled pork) HERE is a link with the recipe she gave me.
  • cheddar barbecue biscuits (pg 40 in hamburger book)
ps.  why isn't barbecue spelled barbeQue (not necessarily with a capital q)?!  i almost ALWAYS misspell that word!!!!
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

family in town and more VBS

this week we have been so busy.  the kids attended another vacation bible school this past week.  even adejay was allowed to participate in this one.  i think she was a year older than everyone, but her best friend was there... so fun was had!  i just had starboy to hang out with each morning from 9-noon.  that was peaceful.
otter pop's aunt, cousin, and three cousin's kids came up to visit this week.  we have been up and out from about 8am until about 8pm each and every day.  we've come home to nap for a couple hours after vbs (1-3), but that's it.  it's been nice that the house has stayed clean!  it's also been nice not to cook dinner each night!  although last night i made dinner for everyone over at our house. 
today is sleep in day, so we got up at 6:30...  that little sweet starboy is all congested and didn't sleep well.  at all.  that's a first for him.  and i'm talking about in his whole life!  geeze, besides him not sleeping well there was a LOUD LOUD thunderstorm last night.  it felt like i was living back up in the mountains again!  the thunder shook the whole house several times!!!!!!  i think that's what woke up the little star in the first place.  he came and laid in bed with us (which he never has before and there's a reason for that!)  he sleeps ALL over and kicks like he doesn't have to worry about life...  then when he woke up, he started prying otter's and my eyes open to tell us "hi!" and "out!"  and "foo!"  and "i wuv you!" 
i'm TIRED!
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Friday, July 8, 2011

June end-of-the-month review

i can't believe all this stuff happened last month.  i am lovin' this summer and am excited to share our life with you in our happenings!!!
  • the first week of june was my last few days of watching my extra little guy / extra little income.  it was actually really hard to say goodbye to him!  he and his mom are moving to the other side of the state, so i just pretty much won't ever see him again!  :(  i'll pray for them and would appreciate it if you would too.  just random, good-thought prayers...
just 10 days apart
  • aleemay had a movement-thingy-show-off show.  it pretty much was to show all us family members what they'd been learning in PE or some class like PE/dance/movement???  anyway, whatever it was, it was fun and it was great to watch.  aleemay led her class out on the floor and was the first "leader" of the class (obviously not afraid at all of being in front of an audience)!  i had a friend that has a son in aleemay's class call me about 10 minutes before it started to ask if i had a camera to bring... thankfully she called because i didn't even realize the event was for parents to attend!!! 

  • we attended a new church small group.  it's called "young married" so i'm not completely sure we would fit in it... but we did.  i loved it.  i hope we can attend more!  i think they/we meet every two weeks.  that'll be good for ALL of us, as it was a FAMILY group, not just for the adults!
  • i had another great women's bible study group, wrapping up the topic of organization.  i then (later in the month) was invited to start a 30-day organize-athon to start july 1!  so... pretty much God gets me ready for events i don't even know about!  God, You are so good!!!!!
  • adejay had an end-of-the-year hu-rah called "middle school mayhem" and it WAS mayhem!!!  it was fun.  they had their "field day" followed by some more outdoor fun, dinner, and then a masquerade dance.  she dressed up as a kioshi warrior...  i love this girl.  she's so fun.  i went to chaperon and see what her life's like and stuff.  she's so great.  i was trying to lay low, but she kept bringing her friends over and asking if i wanted to join them.  !!!  what more could i ask for in a daughter, right?!  so, we danced and sweated together! 

  • the girls had their little dance thingy for the school's end-of-the-year talent show.  you know, the one adejay choreographed for aleemay and her three friends?!  it was great.  the girls did awesome, but unfortunately their singer had horrible sound system and was over shadowed by the cute girls.  you couldn't even hear the singing!  :(  i felt really really bad for him and his mom since they had set the whole thing up!!!

  • we started our softball games.  that's been fun.  we've even had some practices!  they really help! 
  • i have some dear friends starting a school (click the link.  check them out.  you might just find yourself interested... or wanting to support them in any way).  they held a HUGE benefit sale that i helped out with one saturday in june.  while i was working the kids went with nana...  FISHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • i started playing the piano again, thanks to some sheet music i picked up at the above mentioned benefit sale.
  • i killed some thousand dandelions in our front yard.  that's quite an accomplishment.  they might come back alive, but i still killed them!
  • my starboy really started showing some potty training progress.  as in, he TOLD me had to go potty and then ran to the bathroom and WENT!  
  • jones turned a big number 5!  we went to a picnic and then to the zoo.  he's so easy to please... i love this boy!

  • we drove up north a little to celebrate a small town's "frontier days".  frontier days that was advertised on EVERYTHING to be from june 23-26, but when we went up there on the 23rd, were told it all started the next day.  that was frustrating, but it's a cute small little town and we walked around and enjoyed it anyway.  we then drove up further north and then back down and around a beautiful scenic drive back home.  we spent about 5 hours in the car, but there weren't any whines or complaints.  it was so pretty, we all were easily side tracked.  i did get pulled over right near the end of the trip... but it was nothing.  i just passed someone on the right.  it wasn't a big deal.  no ticket.
  • starboy starts galloping around the house.  it's super cute!
  • jones got an awesome trip to a local aircraft museum followed by an air show and a fun-filled day with nana.  what a great birthday present!
  • we attended our city's recreation festival and participated in lots of fun hands-on activities that were set up.  i'm kinda glad we showed up an hour before they all started closing up, because we had so much fun in that one hour, it's hard to say how long we actually COULD'VE stayed and played!  my parents came up and joined us and then afterwards we all (including nana) came home for jones' birthday dinner and cake and ice cream so that he could finally turn 5.
  • i enrolled the kids in a local church's Vacation Bible School.  the kids had SO MUCH FUN!  it was "pandamania" or something like that.  boo, jones, and aleemay

  • boo chopped her own hair.  i don't want to dwell on this one.  :(

  • adejay had one of her best friend from school over.  we went to the art museum and to the park for lunch.  it was an interesting day to say the least... maybe i'll blog about it.  i don't know.  i'm still mulling the whole visit over. 
june was so great.  apparently i have about a half a month of pictures to upload for this post to be complete.  but june has given us a great lead into july and we're enjoying it too!  thanks for reading and try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 
would you mind leaving me a comment?!  i'd like to hear what YOU have to say...