Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dec 31, 2013

Well, this is it! The last day of 2013. I can't put off making New Year's Resolutions much longer...tomorrow is January 1st!

Thinking about this last year, I'm a little discouraged. How have I grown as a person? As a wife? As a mom? As a woman? I did get out of my comfort zone and go back to school...which is something I've only thought about doing until this past August. But other than that, I just don't feel like I grew much, which is pretty sad. Over the past 364 days I've not changed much. Maybe instead of resolutions, I need to make goals for this year? Then when the inevitable happens and I slope backwards, I'll pick myself up and move forward again. Goals are very fluid, to me. Maybe not so rigid as "resolutions". Maybe I'm just kidding myself. But then I have such an issue with being a procrastinator and having a WHOLE YEAR to accomplish a goal seems like I could procrastinate a lot!

Some goals to consider: becoming more healthy. That includes how I eat and how I spend my time which means...a more active lifestyle. Yes, I'm rolling my eyes at myself. That also includes changing how I eat, how I clean, my whole outlook on life. Right now, comfort and ease is the key to my life. I do like to be comfortable and I don't like to have to work too hard. Geez, I sound like a teenager. Another goal I'd like to have is to work on my relationship with the Lord. That's a fluid thing. Sometimes I feel so close to Him and sometimes I feel like I'm just going through the motions, kinda a bad thing for someone on staff at church. Another goal I feel drawn to is being a better wife. Poor Ken. He puts up with so much from me. I'm not the best support or helpmate for him. Last, the kids. I'm really feeling the years passing and that there isn't much time left as Mom with a capital "M". They are preparing to start lives of their own where my opinion isn't that big a deal to them.

I'm sure there's more kicking around in my head and heart but those are the top things that pop in my head when I think of things I need to work on. Yes, temper, time management and my mouth are also top things...but I think those will all get worked on with the other goals I've mentioned.

2014...just seems so, well FUTURE-y.

Monday, December 30, 2013

12 Days of Christmas

I don't really get it. And I think that's okay. I hope it's okay with others. But from the comments I read on someone's organizing FB page, I'm thinking, probably not. So, we have the 12 days of Christmas, which, to me, is a song that I get mixed up all the time. For others, it's how they celebrate (and from the tone of their comments, it's how ALL should celebrate).

So, backstory. While I've been sick I've looked around and found some different organizing sites that appealed to me. Today while scooting around www.organizingmadefun.com I wandered on to her FB page and there was a picture of neatly stacked totes with the caption. "Done. Are you?" Now a good chunk of people either said, no, or mentioned that they don't take down their decorations until after New Year's or Epiphany but there were a couple who were outright nasty! One said something really snotty that implied that THEY were more family oriented because they left their Christmas crap up until Jan 6th and that the FB author was a show-off and not as "good" as they were because she'd gotten her Christmas decorations pulled down. I was shocked! Seriously! I know that there are people who forget the old adage "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" (which, if you've read any of my posts is kinda ME to a T, but I'd never get snotty on someone else's FB page or blog, geez!)  or the fact that they don't HAVE to say something if they don't agree with her. It's not like her salvation is in jeopardy because she *gasp* took her Christmas decorations down on Dec 27th! Aren't there other things to get hyped up about?

By the way, it's December 30th and my Christmas decorations are down, toted up (thanks to Meg) AND (thanks to Kenny3) stored in the garage attic! My house feels so open and, well, homey! I'm kinda in the mood to clean out a couple cabinets! Wait, what?! Did I say that?!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Oh, what a day!

I'm still sick, but I think I'm on the other side of the mountain. I gathered up the energy to go to the movies with the girls so I didn't disappoint. I  hate the number of times I've screwed up something because I was sick. We went to see, "Frozen." Cute movie and so sweet that the love part of the movie was the bond between sisters. Aw! Lorie took us out to Don Tellos which was strange since I'm not very hungry and I can't taste much. :)

We came home and I stayed out in the living room with the girls instead of holing up in my room. I tried to make Forgotten Chicken but put it in the crockpot on low like a moron since I only had 4 hours before dinner. Guess what? The chicken wasn't done so I had to put it in the oven which dried it out. Ah well, the rest of them liked it.

I bought "The Daniel Plan" and oh, my, Kenny is never going to go for that! I'm not sure I'm up for it, to be honest. I know in my mind that eating clean is better for me but is a whole lot of thinking to do in order to eat stuff I don't like and don't wanna learn to like. Maybe I can do it for 40 days like the book touts. If I do, I'll wait until Kenny and Lorie go back to school. In the meantime, I can at least pay attention more to what I'm eating. Guess I should not push Meg to finish making those cookies and desserts I bought the stuff for!

I also found www.aslobcomesclean.com . I wish I could remember where but I don't. Maybe via Bloggy Moms? That sounds about right. I posted a comment on her Facebook page which Anne saw and the next thing ya know, she's joined and posted a comment, too! I love my sisters. I did manage to declutter a couple things: one of the junk drawers in the kitchen (the small one), my drawers and cabinet under the sink in the bathroom and my nightstand drawer. Yeah me!

So here's my goals for this next week: 1) get healthy already! 2) add 15 minutes of exercise (even just walking in place in front of the tube) every day, 3) wash face and brush teeth each night (I know, I should already do that but I'm a slob, okay?!), 4) take vitamins every day. So, #1 is kind of up to You Know Who but I'm drinking my water and laying low as much as possible. House-wise I'd like to get the cabinets and appliances in the kitchen wiped down, get the Christmas stuff put up, and get the girls hallway painted.

Maybe putting it in print will help keep me accountable. Not betting on it, though. I know me too well.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pinterest "fun"

I’m not a cook by any sense of the word. However, I do have people who count on eating in the house and don’t really go for the “make a sandwich” thought. Course, I get sick of sandwiches, too, so I can’t really blame them. Since I really can’t stand making up menus and I really get tired of making the same thing over and over, I decided to do an experiment and told all the kids that our meals over Christmas Break would have to be Pinterest recipes. I set up a group board on my Pinterest account (http://www.pinterest.com/tootlyb/) and posted some recipes there. One child out of the four that are home posted a recipe…yep, A recipe. Maybe she posted two. But anyhow, 2 meals out of the 14 days of meals?  Looks like it’ll be Mom’s Choice as usual.
Problem #1…I’m sick. Really sick. We struggled through the first weekend of Christmas Break with takeout pizza. and what was in the house. I rallied on Monday and did 2-hour grocery run that almost took me out. What got me through was knowing that the troops would be ready to help unload the car and put groceries away. Only the troops were still asleep when I got home.

Problem #2…teenagers. Like I said before, the troops were all still sleeping when I got home at 11am so I had to unload the car by myself and put things away. Meg woke up at some point during the process and helped kinda put things away. The troops also slept in the next day so didn’t eat the breakfast I made. This happened the day after Christmas, too. Probably will happen with the casserole I’ve got in the oven right now. I’m starting to wonder why I’m making breakfasts at all. So far, they've not been teenager-y and been really sweet about trying the meals.
So far I’ve made two lunches, 3 breakfasts, and 1 dinner over the past four days.

Lunch 1…7 Can Chicken Enchilada Soup (http://www.highheelsandgrills.com/2013/12/7-can-chicken-enchilada-soup.html )  This was okay. I won’t make it again, though. I prefer Progresso's Chicken Enchilada Soup from the can, to be honest.
Lunch 2…Oven Baked Meatball Sandwiches (http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/671518-Oven_Baked_Meatball_Sandwiches?_szp=78232&_szi=28 ) This was easy and the family liked it. I will make sure to get regular size meatballs next time though. I didn’t check the package and got the humongo-sized ones accidentally and then had to cut them down.

Breakfast #1…Easy Monkey Bread Muffins (http://thefrugalgirls.com/2012/03/monkey-bread-muffins-recipe.html ) These were really good. I put too many biscuit pieces in each muffin tin and the recipe made way too much caramel-ish sauce so I'll have to make adjustments for that. It's also fairly time consuming because you have to cut the biscuits down and shake them in a sugar/cinnamon mixture before putting them in the muffin tins.
Breakfast #2… Pancake squares (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241505598741810882/)  I’ve made this before. Super easy and, luckily, it warms up okay.. I left one third plain, put chocolate chips on one third, and blueberries on a third.
Breakfast #3…Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241505598741810883/ ) I use sausage for the meat layer and country-style hashbrowns for the top. Yummy! I made this for church one morning when it was my turn to bring breakfast for coffee hour. It's cooking right now and smells delish!

Dinner #1… (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/241505598741844628/ ) Dorito Chicken Casserole…I had this down for one of our lunch options but made it for dinner anyhow. The family liked it. I’d rather just have regular tacos or a taco salad, personally.
Today’s lunch is French Dip Crescent Rolls and tonight’s dinner is a Crockpot Pork Loin (which I need to got put together and get started). Fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ending the year

December 26th?! December 26th?! How did it get to be December 26th?! I guess when you've been sick for over a week, time begins to slip through your fingers. I am still coughing and froggy sounding. After the unfortunate incident at Burlington with my digestive system (which I will not enlighten you about...I'm that embarrassed about it), I stopped taking the Mucinex DM and the antibiotic. I also decided yesterday that something had to give and realized that I really think that the coughing is from all the snot my sinuses are making. I started taking Benadryl every four hours. It's probably time for me to take it now since I can feel the snot sliding down my throat as I type. Gross, I know.

We survived another Christmas and I've ended Christmas thinking the same thing I have the last 20-odd Christmases...I want to budget throughout the year and not wait until I get a Christmas budget the week before Christmas. I want to send Christmas cards! I want to have thoughtful, interesting presents. Hubby has said that he's creating a budget for 2014 and I hope we can stick to it. I've already got what I want to do for Sandra picked out and have an idea for Mom as well.

I guess it's also time to start working up the New Year's resolutions I won't be able to keep. Those I'm kicking around:
1. blogging more consistently
2. being more intentional about my friendships
3. figuring out the job situation
4. weight and health under control
5. spending more time with the girls and being more communicative with the college kids
6. being more communicative with Daddy and Mom. Hate that I let so many days go by without contacting them.
7. being more intentional with my spiritual life...maybe journaling would help.

Guess I need to firm those up...but I've got a couple days. Ha! I guess I should add something about working on my procrastination issues to the list!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm seeing spots!

About 8-10 years ago (give or take) I noticed that my years of being a Florida girl and baking in the sun (and, unfortunately, putting my face too close to a sunlamp my mom had and frying my face more than once) has taken its toll on my skin. I have these “lovely” dark spots and yucky looking skin that bothers me a bit. Just a bit. Not enough to actually spend a lot of time or money on it, just enough to get irritated that drugstore foundation isn’t good enough quality to even out my skin tone. But the other night I saw a commercial for a mask from Garnier that is supposed to help with dark spots and evening out skin tone.
I looked for it at Wally World the next time I was there (and remembered the commercial, so it was probably 4-5 Wally World trips…meaning maybe 2 weeks from the time I saw the commercial). When I got home and checked it out, it wasn’t a mask like I know, where you put slimey stuff on your skin and then wash it off. It was an actual mask that you unfolded and put on your face! It has eye, nose and mouth holes. The model on the box showed that it fits you like a glove…if you put a glove on your face. So, anyway, I finally got around to doing my mask on Sunday night. I washed and dried my face like the package said and then opened the mask packet and unfolded it and applied it to my face. I didn’t end up looking like the model. I ended up looking like something from a film showing people who had had surgery on their faces. It just didn’t “fit”. I tried yanking on it, stretching it, manipulating it any way I could think of and then finally just left it alone and sat down for the needed 10 minutes. While I was waiting for the mask to work its magic, I did a search on Google for reviews on this product and ran across on that raved about cloth masks and how wonderful they were and this way. She claimed that she was able to stretch and manipulate the mask so it fit on her face nicely. What?! I still don’t get it.
The end result was that while I didn’t notice instant brightening, like the box claimed, I will do it two more times this week and twice next week (there’s a total of 5 masks in the box) because I'm too cheap not to use it now that I've opened the box.  I did notice that my skin was very soft, the jury is out on if it will help the dark spots. But the look on my son’s face when he came into my room while I was ‘masking’ was totally worth all the trouble!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rainy Saturday

This day had such possibilities! Even though it's rainy and gray and kinda dismal. Hubby took the dogs on out their early morning walk so I got to stay snuggly and toasty warm in the bed. Then there was some morning cuddles with the fur-babies. Barring the doggy breath and doggy stink, it's a sweet time. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep but all I could do was think of all the things I needed to do. So ya know what I did? I actually got up, took a shower and got ready for the day! I put some cinnamon rolls in the oven, did some laundry and started working on some of the multitude I needed to get done today. I was getting nice and organized when it was time to get Jo and Claire and head out for their All-State Band Auditions. Claire had an 11:04 audition and Jo an 11:10 so I had suggested that Claire spend the night last night and I take them both. I'm known for being tardy so I really wanted to get there on time. We were actually way early so we stopped at Subway for breakfast (highly recommend their breakfast wraps, by the way) and then we were off. Unfortunately, this ran just like every other musical venture I've had to deal with (with the exception of the school's Prism concert which runs like clockwork every year) and everything was running late. Jo didn't get into the audition room until 12:50! By the time we got out of there we were exhausted and not really up to taking care of all the things that needed to be done. I'm not in my "zone" any longer and am taking up way too much time whining about people who have no time management skills always in charge of my time.

But I've made myself revise and edit the schedule and get my mind back in the game. I'm back on track and ready to rumble. At least I was until I realized that it was after 6 p.m. and I hadn't even thought about dinner. Dang it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

This, that, and spaghetti sauce

Okay, so anyone who knows me knows I don't feel like I 'm a good cook. I can get a meal on a table, but it's not my favorite thing to do. My repertoire is sadly lacking. But since the people I feed don't really like a lot of things, that works to my advantage.

So the other night I thought we were going out to eat. Around 6ish I wandered into my husband's home office and asked if we were going out soon and it was decided that, eh, we really didn't want to go out. Unfortunately, the cupboard was lacking several essentials for making any of my fallback meals. I could have made tacos but I got the nose sneer from the 14-year old. I took a gander at what I had on hand and then hit Google. To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, "Me and Google, we be mates."

I had a can of tomato paste and some bowtie pasta and some ground beef. Surely, SURELY, there's a way to make spaghetti sauce out of tomato paste with no sauce, puree, or tomato chunks available. I ran across someone's recipe online (I'll have to dig into my history on the computer at home tonight cuz I want to give credit where credit is due). I did some tweaking of my own, not because I thought it needed it, but because I thought I needed to do SOMETHING. So here's, in a weird nutshell, what I did:

I added 1/2 cup olive oil to a 12 oz can of tomato paste and let it cook together (stirring occasionally) while I boiled the pasta and browned the meet. I added no telling how much garlic powder, Italian seasoning, oregano and basil (and, yes, I realize that the Italian season probably had all that stuff in it, but, like I said, I was doing it just to do something cuz I felt like I needed to add something) and seasoned salt. After the pasta was done, I added the pasta water to the paste/oil combo until it was the consistency I wanted and then added the meat. I drained off the rest of the pasta water and then added the sauce to the pasta. As One Fabulous Mama say, "Amazeballs!" I selfishly yanked out some from the pot to take to work the next day so when the hubster came back for 3rds, there was none.

And yes, I'm very proud of myself. And, I may never buy spaghetti sauce again!

Proud of my last name!

Let me just go ahead and put this out there. My father-in-law is the senior pastor of the church my family attends. My husband is the associate pastor. And, yes, I can see how that looks bad. Like there’s some kind of familial power play going on. So, yes, again, I can understand how it looks that I’m being voted on to be the children’s director. But here’s the thing. Should my being related to the pastor(s) really have any bearing on whether or not I get the job? I understand the whole nepotism thing in business. However, in a church setting don’t you want people in positions that they are gifted for and for which they are called? For some people, the answer is “no.” They want to accuse my family of trying to control everything. So my question is, when I stepped up to fill the position as interim children’s director giving the leadership six months to pray over the situation and receive resumes of interested people, why didn’t these people step up? Why didn’t they go to friends and make sure anyone they knew who might fit the bill knew about it and applied? If it’s such a big deal, why did they do nothing but sit back and gossip? How does that fix anything?

I was very upfront with the leadership when I interviewed for the interim position and have been upfront with anyone who talked to me about it, if someone came along whom the leadership felt God had placed here, I would willingly step aside. I did not want to get in the way of the Lord’s plans for Bethel. I still don’t. But in the six months I’ve been interim children’s director, there have been no resumes submitted for the position. (In full disclosure, there was one resume and one interest letter submitted when the position was opened and the first children’s director was hired, the one I replaced, but those parties weren’t qualified then and they aren’t any more qualified a year later now that the church is looking for a children’s director again.)

On top of that, I don’t particularly like feeling like a pawn in someone’s vendetta to get back at Leadership. Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t make them a bad leader. On the same thought, just because you are friends with someone doesn’t automatically make them a good leader…which is why I understand how bad it looks to have so many same last names lined up under staff.

I don’t know. I guess I wish we could all just sit down and talk like adults. But that’s not as much fun as sitting in a pew muttering snide comments to your audience, is it?!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hello, Mr. Sun!

I saw the sun today! I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal but it has been so very dreary, gray, and rainy the last week. Oh, and cold. Cold and wet. Today started out that way but by the time I got out of school the sun was shining. It was still cold. But, joy, the sun was shining. I think they are calling for rain this weekend again so I am hoping to enjoy the couple days of sunshine coming.

Tomorrow is Kenny’s work’s Christmas luncheon so I’ll go in early to put in my half day and then have the rest of the day free. I believe I’ll spend it getting dog food and getting the oil changed in the car. Woo-hoo, do I know how to have fun or what? Thursday and Friday are going to be devoted to getting ready for my one and only final (OT Survey).

I can’t believe that not only am I actually taking college courses (finally) but that I’ve just finished my first semester. I took 2 courses this semester and will take 3 next semester. Fingers crossed!

The kids and Kenny have been so encouraging. I imagine the novelty will wear off…for all of us. But now that I have Physical Science out of the way, I think all the rest of the courses are either Bible or related to my major (Biblical counseling).

But for right now? I’m enjoying being spoiled a bit as Megs makes dinner (dessert is turtle brownies a la mode!) and I sit on the couch feeling slightly queasy. I’m hoping it’s the Son of Baconator combo that I ate for lunch and not the stomach virus that seems to be going around. Jo stayed home today because of chucking first thing this morning. She’s still feeling a bit off but no other stomach (either end) issues so it may have just been snot-on-stomach that caused the problem.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My apologies, Mr. Gaither!

My sincerest apologies to Mr. Gaither and his Homecoming people for the sneeriness of my attitude. Last night I went to the Gaither’s Homecoming Christmas concert at the Gwinnett arena. We go every year with the church. It’s funny…every year I sneer and make snide remarks and huff and puff my way to the concert and every year I’m absolutely blown away as some of the performances (Isaacs and David Phelps…I looking at you!!!). I think it’s the banter that gets me. Don’t get me wrong, some of it is cute and funny but it’s so rehearsed. They do a good job to try to make it NOT seem so rehearsed but things run too, well, smoothly for the bobbles to be real bobbles. But then I don’t like Duck Dynasty for the same reason. I know there are lots of people who watch and enjoy the show and find them to be genuinely hilarious. And they may very well be hilarious…the first time they cut a remark. However, by the time they film it? It’s rehearsed and forced and someone like me just can’t get around that. Which is strange because I am truly so easily amused. My kids (well, my 14-yr old, mainly) get embarrassed because of the things that crack me up.

Case in point, a couple weeks ago Jo and I are at the pediatrician. We are in the waiting room and they have Sesame Street on the TV. Jo’s texting on her phone and I’m playing Candy Crush (don’t judge). Anyhow, it’s an Elmo section of S.S. and the following busted through my Candy Crush zone and tickled me. Elmo was talking to a fish or a turtle or some creature like that, I didn’t stop to check, and he says, “What do you do? Elmo doesn’t know much about you other than you swim around and say ‘forsooth’ a lot.” Okay, so right now at this very moment, that doesn’t sound funny. But at that moment in time in the pediatrician’s office? Pure comedy magic. So I’m cracking up (and I don’t laugh softly) and in my defense, I did NOT snort  (it happens when I laugh sometimes) but Jo was mortified. Of course, once I explained, and I did the Elmo voice, she softly laughed, too. Softly. She takes after her father.

Kenny and I can be watching the same show and I’m rolling around laughing at something and he’ll just be looking at the screen. When I ask him if he didn’t get the joke (it happens) he’ll say something like, “No, I found it funny. But just not funny enough to laugh hysterically at” at which point he gives me “the look.” <sigh>


Monday, December 2, 2013

Bloggy moms

Well, I did it. I finally joined one of the blogging sites, Bloggy Moms. I felt like I needed a little more accountability with my blogging (and probably a heck of a lot more accountability on the spelling, grammar and readability of them, too). I spent a little time reading over my past blogs and I've come to the following conclusions:
1) I don't talk near enough about my kids, life, love, or lessons learned from them.
2) I'm pretty much a major whiney-butt. I mean, I'm not surprised by that fact but having post after post after post with whine, whine, whine, whine, whine, whine (and more whine) and wowzers. Might want to check that attitude, Mrs. Stokes!
3) Spelling is waaaay more important that I give it credit for! I definitely need to go back over those old posts with an editing eye.
4) I didn't understand what in the world I was talking about sometimes so if anyone ever deigned to read this blog, they'll be hopelessly lost!
5) If I'm going to continue to blog, I need to be a little less doofy about it.

So I'm about to pop over to BloggyMom.com and peek at what they have by way of community and tips and see if I can have a bit more fun with my blogging and maybe this time next year I can look back and smile at the memories that I've committed to the Blogosphere.

Bittersweet memories...

Time with my older kids is always so bittersweet. This past week was Thanksgiving. I had all the kids but D. home. Of course, if D had deigned to bless us with her presence, this past week would have been all about her so as much as it pains me to say it, it was probably best that she wasn’t here. I’m still praying that she’ll get all her issues sorted out and contact the kids and work through the conflicts.

ANYHOW, Big Kenny flew Lorie home as my Christmas present. We decided to surprise the kids with her visit. It was so funny when she walked into the house. Meg was sitting in the family room on her laptop and looked up and said, “Lorie! What are you doing here?” Apparently, that was very similar to what Lorie said to Meg when Mom flew her up to D.C. to make the drive south. Jo was in her room so I called to her to come to the living room. Lorie stood at the gate with her head popped around the corner so when Jo opened her bedroom door, the first thing she saw was Lorie’s smiling face. K3 was so cute. Big Kenny asked him if he wanted to go with him as he went “by work” and, surprisingly, K3 said yes. I guess he was that bored and wanted to get out of the house. That’s when BK told K3 that he was actually going to the airport to pick up Lorie. That child’s face lit up and he popped out of the couch.

I love that my kids love each other so much.

But all good things must come to an end. Lorie had to go back to D.C. and K3 had to head back to Point U. I know in my head that they’ll be back in a couple weeks for the Christmas/Semester Break and they be home for almost a month each. But…they’ll still have to go back. I guess that’s just this season of parenthood…watching my babies create their own lives separate from me. And that’s good. But when I hold my friend’s tiny baby it reminds me of own little ones (who aren’t so little anymore). I guess that’s why I’m going back to school. I want to be like my mom who, while she loves her family very much and does so so much for us (including driving up to Atlanta to be at her grandson’s performance), she has her own life. She’s busy with things that interest her. I want to be like that. I know too many people whose whole lives are wrapped up in their kids and I wonder, do they only see themselves as a mom? I love being a mom but I don’t want it to be my whole life or define me as a person.

And that’s bittersweet, too, knowing that things will never be the way they were.