Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Principal's Office

On this windy Saturday after Easter, I sit in my house typing a blog that will be very UN Mary-like and tell you all about my visits to the office as a high school senior...

My husband has the kids at batting practice after we spent the morning building fence, and I purportedly stayed behind to tie up some fence along the back stretch...I'm getting to it!  I'm getting to it!

Have I ever told you I loathe softball?  We were on a roll!  We got the back fence up!  We got 75 percent of the East fence up!  And BAM!! It's time to go practice batting...Anyhoo.  I am not a fan of softball...

So here's the scenario.  I'm a senior.  I am superior to all things beneath me...Namely underclassmen.  I am a "good" kid who never gets into trouble.  The vice principal is one of my very best friend's dad.  He is big and scary looking with a booming voice.  But I've known him forever and have no fear of him.  It is first period, and I am in Coach Wright's American History class.  This means it's basketball season, because Coach Rundell and he split the year.  Rundell taught football season, Wright taught basketball.  At least that's how I think it went.  Anyhoo, I'm in American History.  A voice comes over the intercom:

"Coach, I need to see Andrea in the office."

I get up out of my desk, smile and shrug at my classmates and gleefully miss out on one of my least favorite classes.  I flung open the office door, "Hi Mr. Mills!  What's up?"

"Why are you parked in the grass at the VoAg building?"  That's vocational agriculture for you nonrural folk...

"There was nowhere else to park!"

"What do you mean, 'nowhere to park.'  There's half a parking lot empty out there!"

"That is the SOPHOMORE parking lot.  Only they don't seem to realize they are supposed to park there as all of them have STOLEN the senior parking spaces, and left me no choice but to park across the street at the Ag building."

"Jonesy.  There is no ASSIGNED parking here.  Go move your car.  Now."

And I smiled hugely at him (I had suspected this may happen) and moved my car to the underclassmen's parking lot, grumbling under my breath the whole way.  The nerve of those sophomores!  Anyone who had went to school there any amount of time understood the parking rules.  Seniors get first pick on the north parking lot, then juniors, but NEVER sophomores.  They had to park on the south parking lot.  It's where they BELONGED.  I mean really, if the faculty is not going to reinforce obvious social rules, what will the world come to?

I think I made it back to the tale end of history, the bell rang, and I happily headed to zoology.

Fast forward a few weeks.

Same scenario as before:

"Coach, please send Andrea to the office NOW."  Wow.  He sounded a little more firm over the intercom that time. 

I bebopped my cheerleader uniform clad self right into the office.  "Hi Mr. Mills!  You wanted to see me?"

"Andrea why is your car in the teacher parking lot?"

"Mr. Mills, I HAD NO CHOICE!!  The parking spaces were all gone, and I come from that direction.  And it was raining.  And I was nearly late for school.  All of the SENIOR parking spaces were gone!  Rather than risk being tardy for class, I parked in the nearest parking space available!"  And I silently added that supposedly there are no assigned parking spaces...."And, Mr. Mills, what if my mom needs to go somewhere?  My car is right there handy for her.  She can take it to run any errands she might need to run...  Really when you think about it, it was the most practical choice for me to make."

"Jonesy.  I'm telling you one more time.  Move your car."

"Okay, sir, but really SOMEONE has to teach the youngsters their place.  I worked hard to earn my parking space in the SENIOR parking lot and all of those dumb sophomores think they can just slide right into the upperclassmen's spaces!"

"Move your car."

Don't you know I was on that man's last nerve?

You see, poor Mr. Mills didn't have to tolerate my cheekiness only at school.  Oh no.  TeNille and I were great friends, and during any sporting season, I was often at their house killing time before the bus left to take us to the game, be it basketball, or football.  And he drove the bus to these games.  Poor man. There was truly very little reprieve from me!  You see, we lived 26 miles out of town, so it made no sense for me to drive home then turn right around to come back for a game, or to ride the bus to an away game.  That meant I had to find a place out hang out until time to leave.

I knew when to cut my losses.  I gave him my most winning smile and said, "Sure thing, Mr. Mills.  I'll see you tonight after school!"

And I flounced my self right out of there and moved my car.

Sadly, justice was not served my senior year.  The sophomores never learned their place in the world.

And I was never given the respect I deserved based on my senior-itis...

THERE!! Your burning curiosity is satisfied.  I am off to tie up off some fence.

Perhaps tomorrow I will tell you all about how to skip class and never get in trouble for it!

Because, clearly I was a "good" kid.

At least on paper.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Child is Nothing Like Me

Nothing at all...

That is why this post is so shocking!

Because I never cut Willis's hair on the bus when I was in 2nd grade.  And even if I did, it would have been because he was annoying and the older girl that got on at the last stop (who suffered from the dreaded disease hay fever and I was pretty sure that was a fate worse than death) told me to.  She was cool and quirky and lived with her grandparents and she was at the exalted age of at least 4th grade.  You can imagine the honor bestowed upon me when her exalted self sat next to me...

So Willis, for whatever reason, annoyed us.  I have no idea why, because in reflection I can only think of nice things about Willis...However, this cool older girl may have felt a hair cut would put him in his place.  And she may have decided that I was her perfect scapegoat.

She may have even brought her school scissors on the bus the next day...

And perhaps she could even have POSSIBLY convinced me to cut a big hunk out of the back of his hair, clear to the scalp...

Poor Willis.  I have no idea what the poor little guy could have done to incite our wrath...But he suffered mightily.

And if that would have ever happened to him (because I'm not saying I would have ever done such a shallow thing), let me assure you that he never ratted on me.

Clearly, I was a walk the line sort of child who never crossed even a little pinky toe over the rule barrier.

That is why it was completely inconceivable to the principal that I would punch Randy in the nose and bloody it during Red Rover...

But it wasn't my fault!

Here's how it REALLY went down:  We were playing Red Rover.  I had to hold Michael's (or was it Travis's?) hand...Whoever it was, the boy was my "boyfriend."  You know the scenario:  Do you love me?  Will you go out with me?  Check yes, no or maybe.  I checked "maybe" a lot...Perhaps because I needed to keep my suitors on a string, or perhaps because I didn't want to be responsible for broken hearts...Surely it was the broken heart thing.  I had LOTS of boyfriends in grade school...Only we never spoke or looked at each other or really even acknowledged each other's existence.  And we certainly never held hands!

Oh, the horror when I got called over and Michael/Travis/Jason held tight and I had to then stand next to them and hold hands...

That dumb boy Randy got such a kick out of mocking us about holding hands that I just pulled back and whopped him right in the nose...

Side Note:  My brother had taught me how to throw a real punch just the day before, as he noticed I was "hitting like a girl."  Thanks to David I was able to pull my arm back properly and throw my weight from the shoulder.  It was all fresh in my mind, you see.  Again, I am clearly lacking in any real fault in this whole sordid tale.

Randy was not as nice as Willis.  He was a tattle tale.  He went straight over to Mrs. Wyand and told her that I punched him in the nose.  Of course, she refused to let us all work it out on the playground.   I was pretty sure we could all just shake hands and apologize.  I mean, I was totally willing to forgive Randy's bratty behavior if he would just apologize for teasing me...

 But NoooOOOOoooo!  She insisted we go see the principal Mr. Heaton.  Mr. Heaton asked for Randy's side of the story which went like this:  I have no idea why she punched me.  She just did it.

Boys just aren't good at details.

Mr. Heaton then asked for my side of the tale, which went like this:  We were playing Red Rover.  I got called over and was caught.  He was teasing me for holding Michael/Travis/Jason/Shance's hand.  I told him to stop teasing me, but he just kept doing it.  I got mad and didn't know what else to do, so I just punched him in the nose!

Apparently my story seemed more believable to the honorable Mr. Heaton...

Randy got a spanking that day.

And I got off without so much as detention!

Gentle Reader, is that not wrong on so many levels it is not even funny?  Except it really is kinda funny...In a totally wrong sort of way, mind you!

Life lesson learned: Speak the truth and it will go well for you.  This lesson served me particularly well after I got my license and realized that the speed limit is really only a suggestion (click here to read all about that.)

Now that you've had the back story, I'm sure you will find it completely unbelievable that any child of mine would be called to the Principal's office for stabbing a child with a pencil on the bus. 

Only they called the wrong daughter to the office.  It seems that the little boy involved got his story mixed up and ratted out the wrong child, who then had to rat out her sister!

I learned about this little scenario as I walked into church Wednesday night from one of the teachers at school.

Teacher:  So, how is child who will remain unnamed? (we will call her Betty for the sake of this post)
Me:  Why?  Oh, you mean the Land Run thing?  Well, Brent took her home to get a change of clothes so he was a hero today.
Teacher:  No....(Long pause)  Apparently she stabbed a boy with a pencil on the bus.
Me:  WHAT!!!!
Teacher:  Well, I had (How about Veronica for another alias?  I love Archie!!!  Unless one is talking about their new stance on a certain topic that we will not get into on this post) Veronica in class today and she got called to the office.  She was gone for a little bit, came back, sat at her desk and a few minutes later had a hysterical meltdown.  I called her in the hall to talk, and apparently Betty stabbed a boy with a pencil on the bus.  Only he got confused and thought it was Veronica.  She was upset because she got called to the Principal's office, and then really upset because she had to tattle on her sister!  I told her that if Betty did it, then she needed to get in trouble....

I went straight to the choir room and sent Studmuffin a text:  Ask Betty about stabbing a boy with a pencil on the bus.  You see, Gentle Reader, we were having dress rehearsal for our Good Friday service and I was NOT waiting two hours to get home and find out what went down!

He replied that apparently the little boy was calling another child "gay."  The little boy being teased started crying.  Betty decided to seek vengeance (at the behest of an older girl) and stabbed him with a pencil.  He claims he had to go to the hospital to get the lead out, but for whatever reason, he didn't go to the principal with it for a few months...And according to my little innocent lambs there wasn't even lead in the pencil so he's obviously a liar...

And, my precious little angels proclaim that he KNEW that Betty did it, not Veronica, but he just wanted to get little miss perfect in trouble!

Strangely, I've heard nothing more of the stabbing incident.

But I did get to see the guilty child weep and hug her sister and apologize profusely for getting her sent to the office...And I got to see the innocent child (who had not mentioned a word of this to anyone, and wasn't going to) hug her sister,weeping right along with her, say "I'm just glad you didn't get kicked out of school!"

Me too, dear child.  Me too.

Tune in tomorrow to learn all about my visits to the office in high school!  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Up With Me

So, I still had $150 left in grocery money to get me through the end of this month as of last Wednesday...

I decided to reward myself with a shopping spree for flowers and used the rest to buy the girls Easter basket goodies last Saturday.

Because really after you've eaten food you have nothing to show for it, except a few dimples on my thighs, but flowers last forever!!!  Or at least through the summer.  Or as long as I remember to water them.  Unless my dog eats them...

Moving on...

My husband went on his own little shopping spree for Dr. Pepper last night (with Imperial sugar...You must buy this if you have not discovered it.  You will never go back to plain DP again) and left with guacamole, Fritos, pretzels, and candy...And so much more!

I asked him how he paid for it.

Yes, I realize that is not a submissive question.  Yes, I realize it is probably not a big deal, and I'm probably being a nag.

Well, you will be delighted to know that he USED HIS DEBIT CARD!!!  Not his "fun money"  His debit card...I gave him my "mom" face, but bit back the temptation to lecture on my goal of being a trophy wife who sits home and clips coupons, thus enabling me to quit my job, and how his shopping twenty dollar spree was undermining my plans...

I did mention that I have four boxes of Lipton tea in the cabinet that I got for free (yes, four although I could have eight, but I've given the coupons away to ladies in the aisle next to me.)  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think free tea is way cheaper than DP, which leads to chips and candy purchases!

But then I stopped nagging.

Truly I did...

I was behind on clipping coupons, so I tackled that hated chore last night as I watched the last two episodes of Dancing With the Stars...I love DVRs...And what to my wondering eyes should appear?


"Did you buy guacamole today?" I asked in as non-accusatory voice as I could muster, and I held up the coupon.

"Yes.  And, yes I see that coupon which doubles to two dollars off, and yes I wasted money.  I have learned my lesson."

And I continued with my clipping, smug in the knowledge that he has learned the error of his ways.

I suspect that he was just humoring me.  But I can totally live with that!  He said I was right!  And I have now recorded it for all eternity on this blog, and it will be reported to the ends of the earth!

So today I was totally unable to resist looking at the coupon match ups...

I will not go to the store today.  I will not go to the store today...


I will not go to the store today.  I will not go to the store today...


I will not go to the store today.  I will not go to the store today...


I may go to the store today.  

The challenge is to not wander all over the store and buy stuff that I can get for cheap...

The problem is I'm completely out of cash, and we are dedicated to the cash system.  I can get more cash after the first of May, but not before.  Unfortunately, I blew all of my "fun money" on a ladies retreat where I got my mom a birthday and Mother's Day gift...And a Bible case/backpack for my daughter, and a journal for me.

She is going to love her presents.

Did ya hear that Mom?  I remembered to buy you a present AND Mother's Day gift...But you won't get either one until I see you over Memorial Day.  Sorry about your luck!

Well, I'm off to see the dentist.  I've flossed my teeth about 12 times today in hopes that they won't notice that I've been neglecting that little chore.

Have a happy Wednesday!

P.S. Aren't you just sick and tired of hearing about my couponing?  Well, never fear!  I have a post coming up about my child nearly getting expelled from school!  How exciting is that?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Want to Be Like Mary

On this Saturday morning before Easter, I read Matthew 27:62-28:20 and Mark 15:42-16:20.  I sat on my front porch under the awning and watched the sparrows bicker at the bird feeder and enjoyed the sprinkle of rain pattering on the sidewalk off the roof of the house.  I bundled up in a fleece jacket and wrapped a fleece blanket around my legs and enjoyed the crisp morning.

As I sat down and began to read, my plan was to focus on and rejoice in the resurrection.  However, God had a different message for me this morning.  He drew my mind to the two Marys.  These women followed and served Jesus faithfully in a culture where they held little value and no power.

But Jesus did not see them that way.  He saw them as two beautiful hearts wanting love and seeking a savior.  And He gave them both.

Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2.)  She served him diligently after.  We find her present at the crucifixion even after the disciples fled. She remained and watched her savior bear her sins on the cross and die for her.  Then she and the other Mary followed Joseph of Arimathea to the tomb and watched him lay Jesus' body there, wrapped in linen cloth. 

The morning after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, they came to care for their Lord's body...

Their dedication and service to their Lord was rewarded, for they did not find Christ's body.  Instead they found an angel bearing amazing news.  They were the first to know that Jesus had risen! Joyfully they took off down the road to tell the disciples...

And they encountered Jesus!  They fell to His feet and worshiped Him.

Their Lord.  Their Savior.  The man who had seen their worth and given them the love they had so longed for...

Here's what struck me between the eyes this morning:  These women were crazy in love with their Savior.  They wanted to serve Him.  They wanted to be near Him, no matter the cost.  They wanted to do whatever they could to serve their Lord Jesus Christ. Not what they thought would gain them rewards.  Not what society expected them to do.  Just WHATEVER they could do.

Whether that meant standing back and watching him suffer or standing at  his tomb to watch him be laid to rest, or caring for his body.  None of these were glamorous tasks.  But they were eager to perform them for the Lord whom they loved.

Am I that dedicated?  Am I standing back and listening and watching for any opportunity to serve my Lord?  Am I willing to give selflessly of my time and money to serve Him, regardless of the cost?

I am afraid the answer is no.  I am too busy worrying about my housework (which still isn't getting done) and my yard and my weight and my frizzy hair...And the list goes on.

But the two Marys weren't looking to things of the world to give them fulfillment.  They were looking to their Savior.

Jesus Christ.

I want to be more like Mary.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sibling Rivalry in Text Format

My brother and I have a little pattern going.  He texts me good morning at an unsightly hour.  He sends this text to my sisters also, and possibly his children and heaven only knows who else.  I only know that I get it, and it's early. It used to be by 6:30 am every morning, but after much moaning and complaining from two sisters who shall remain nameless, he has bumped it back a little. ...

And I know he would like to think he is tormenting by waking me up every morning.  But I'm already awake, so THERE!!!

Anyways, I respond with a little blip of what I've got planned for the day, because I'm pretty darn sure he is interested in every minute detail of my life, right?  Otherwise he wouldn't include me in his daily morning group text, right?  Well, I thought I'd share a direct quote of what our texts involved the other morning...Along with the thoughts in my head (in parenthesis) to add entertainment value. 

Because I'm all about the entertainment, baby!

6:48 am
Dave:  Good morning.

Me:  Good morning!  I just realized this morning ur birthday is on Easter sunday this year!

Dave:  Wow.  Are you shopping yet.  Lol (he is so not kidding.  Like he ever got me a gift in his life!!) Are you coming out easter.

Me:  We r staying here.  I am singing at our Good Friday service and Easter sunday.  We r also having a townwide garage sale that day & Brent signed us up. (Brent is Studmuffin, so yes, I finally divulged his identity to you.  And let me tell you it took all of my will power not to go on a 20 message 160 character per text rant about my thoughts on the garage sale.  Texting is such a challenge to a rambler like me.)

Dave:  That sounds like fun.  Is he going fishing while this garage sale thing happens.  I know i would.  (Why yes, you would.  And still expect your share of the profits.  And he isn't dare going fishing if he knows what's good for him.  I planned to buy flowers this weekend.  And get a pedicure.  I need to color my roots.  My house is a pit....Oh!  And I planned to garage sale OTHER people's garage sales!)

Me: He has to WORK it since it was his idea.  I LOATHE garage sales but i LOVE going to them!

Dave:  Does the word loathe mean hate.  (At this point I remember that my brother always claims he can't read...And yet he is an avid texter.  And I know he's being deliberately obtuse here.)

Me:  Yes...for major emphasis!  Think of yosemite sam, "i hate that rabbit!"  (Now he can't claim to misunderstand)

Dave:  You mean elmer fudd.  (SERIOUSLY?  Is he disagreeing with me about who said this?  It is clearly from the episode where Bugs trails the gun powder back to Sam and blows him up.  Or the one with the dragon and Yosemite yells "Hy-ah mule!"  Or even the one with the gold nugget that Bugs trades for carrots.  But it is NOT Elmer Fudd.  That would be "wascawwy wabbit heheheheheheh")

Me:  Ok both. (humoring him here, because I know this can lead to an ongoing argument in text format, and he will never concede that I'm right and he's wrong.)  It could even be Daffy.  Lots of hating in Looney Toons.

Dave:  Lol.  Goodbye.  Love u.

Me:  Love u too.

And that my friends is victory.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So Andi, What the Heck Do I Do With That 5 Pounds of ChickenYou Nagged Me Into Cooking?

I'm glad you asked!

After you cook your chicken in the crock pot, divide it up into quart freezer bags.  You don't even have to chop it, because it just totally falls apart.  LABELING them is very important.  Otherwise you will wonder when you cooked this, what exactly it is, and what is in it!

Now, what on earth does one do with all of this precooked chicken?  

How about chicken pot pie or chicken quesadillas?  Those are two easy peasy recipes that my family loves!

However, this post would be even more pointless than you already suspect if I didn't give you something new and exciting to try!

How about chicken tacos?  How simple and easy!  Just add shredded chicken to your skillet, shake on a little taco seasoning with some water and heat through.  I know, that is a total "duh" recipe, but sometimes I think we all get stuck in a rut and the simplest ideas help us break out!

Do you have any "go to" dishes that you take to people when they have a baby?  Or an unexpected surgery?  Here's a new one to add to your arsenal.

Poppy Seed Chicken
4 diced, fully cooked chicken breasts
8oz sour cream
can cream of chicken
1 T poppy seeds
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons for any Aussies out there)

Stir first 4 ingredients together in a 9x9 greased casserole dish.  Crush crackers and spread over the top.  Drizzle with melted butter.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Want to make this heartier?  Put some cooked rice in the bottom of the pan!

I fear this is not a heart healthy/low fat recipe...It's for new moms and stressed, exhausted people.  That's comfort food people!

Speaking of comfort food, here's a healthy choice:

Comforting Chicken
1 T vegetable oil
1 T butter (let's be real, I'm just using butter, but the recipe calls for oil too)
4 cubed chicken breasts (one pound)
1/2 c finely chopped onion
1/2 c finely chopped green pepper
1 can cream of mushroom (reduced fat/sodium works fine for this recipe)
3/4 c uncooked long grain rice (I actually substitute wild rice in this)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Heat oil and butter in skillet.  Add chicken, pepper and onion (except our chicken is already cooked, so you can actually just cook these in a bowl in the microwave, but sauteed on the stove smells divine!!)  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bake in a greased dish for 55-60 minutes or until rice is tender.


Let's see, I need to give you one more recipe so you can justify cooking up five pounds of chicken all at once.

How about making a nice chicken and vegetable soup?  Simply place your chicken in some stock in a large pot.  Add whatever veggies you have on hand and season it up nice with some fresh oregano and parsley.  Or maybe some basil!  Heck, I don't know I'm flying by the seat of my pants here!  Just have fun with it!  Cook it up until veggies are tender and serve with some nice cheddar garlic biscuits.

Wasn't that fun?  Now rejoice that you have just made five wholesome meals for your family!  Yay you!

Now it's your turn.  What is a quick fix dinner that you rely on in a pinch?  Do share!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cook This

Do you want a delicious meal that is ready in 30 minutes or less?

Grab these ingredients:
Savory Garlic Philadelphia Cooking Creme
Chicken Breast

Here's the deal:

Take that whole bag of chicken breasts and throw it in your crock pot in the morning (I put mine in at about 7:30 this morning) along with some cloves of garlic and some oregano.  Cook this on low all day.

Have you seen the new Philadelphia cooking creams?  If you're like me, you found a dollar off coupon for it, and realized it would double at Homeland and you walked away with a new ingredient you had no concrete plans for....

But it was only 19 cents, so what the heck!

You will also need a box of pasta (that there is a good chance you got for free if you follow Coupon Closet.)  If you don't follow Coupon Closet and you live in the OKC metro area, you should.  I have $150 left in this month's grocery budget and I have everything I need aside from a few gallons of milk to see us through the end of the month.

Cook your pasta according to package directions.  While it's cooking, pour about 2T of EVOO in the bottom of a skillet.  Why?   I have no idea, but it really seemed like the thing to do, and it makes me feel like a fancy cook to drizzle it around in a circle.  Empty your container of Savory Garlic Philadelphia Cooking Creme, and add that chicken, chopped or shredded, that is lovely and delicious after cooking in the crockpot all day.  I eyeballed enough to serve the four of us with leftovers (maybe three breasts?)  It was falling apart as I grabbed it out, so my amount is guestimated.  Heat it through, then toss with your pasta.  Serve with Rhodes Warm N Serve Rolls, that again you'd get for free nearly every week if you followed Coupon Closet, as she would tell you where to get coupons and where they are on sale...

Try to hold back your frustration as you wait for that husband to get home from buying fencing supplies.  If you are wise you will plant a big smacker right on his face the minute he walks in, as you might POSSIBLY have been nagging him to put up a new one...

Not that I know anything about nagging, or the skill with which to yield it...I prefer to just start projects that I have no idea how to complete, and do them in a slapdash shoddy fashion...Before you know it my hero has stepped in and saved the day!

And no nagging was necessary!

Feel free to use this tip to your own advantage. 

Go type a blog and tell everyone about the fabulous dinner you made in no time flat.

Serve it up to your family with some tossed salad (topped with dressing that you found for a measly 67 cents a bottle, again thanks to Carrie over at Coupon Closet) and bask in the adoration they pour out on you...

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Kind of Person I Am

Are you ever horrified by the comments that come out of your mouth in hindsight?  I had a strange compulsion to end statements with "that's the kind of person I am" this weekend.

I went on a ladies retreat with my church this weekend.  It was dormitory style sleeping arrangements.  The beds actually weren't bad, but I slept on the top bunk so it took me a while to relax enough not to worry about falling off.

I noticed one of my friends had a nylon sleeping bag.  It was the kind that zips up around your head.  I asked if she already had it, or if she was a camper.  She said it was great for camping.  I commented that my girls have nylon sleeping bags, but mine is that heavy cotton.  I hate how nylon bags make you gradually sllliiiide to one side of your tent, no matter how level you think your sleep surface is.  "So you are okay with your girls sliding?"  To that I replied, "Oh, sure!  They're little.  They can handle sleeping wadded up in a ball.  Besides, that's just the kind of mom I am."

I have been busy.  And I hate the word busy, because who the heck ISN'T busy?

We are having a garage sale Friday & Saturday because my husband overheard me say that it's time to move, our house is getting cluttered.  He promptly signed us up for the town wide garage sale. 

He somehow forgot that I like GOING to garage sales, but LOATHE having them!  Unfortunately, garage sales are against my religion.  I believe in gathering up all of our unwanted/unused crap...Or excuse me, TREASURE and taking it to the crisis center.  That way, I don't have to sit in the heat/snow/rain/ice or whatever on my day off. 

But being the loving, supportive wife that I am, I never said, "Well, I don't know WHAT you are going to sell in the garage sale as I cleaned out the attic last fall and gave everything away, so have fun with that."  Fortunately, I also did not make this statement within 30 minutes of getting home from a  ladies retreat where I left feeling refreshed and convicted about what a better Christian I was going to be, leading to me being a better wife/mom/friend and all of that stuff.


I will share a few major convictions I had this weekend.

1.  Garbage in, garbage out.  We live in a world where everything is okay, and innocence is lost all too young.  We are back to only Christian music in this house and in my car.  The girls can listen to the cd's we bought them, as they were purchased with parental approval.  I also plan to crack down on television.  No, I can't shelter from the world forever, but they will lose their innocence either way, so I prefer to have them grounded in the Word and what is pleasing to God before I send them out into it.

2.  The speaker on Saturday morning spoke about how to know the Bible can be trusted.  Strangely, his closing statement, which seemed unrelated to his lesson, struck me right between the eyes.  He relayed the story of Eli and Samuel from Genesis chapter 3, and how Eli did a great job teaching Samuel to seek God and hear his voice, but his own children were wicked and Eli had failed to correct them, so God took them both from him in one day.  The speaker said, "Be sure that you aren't doing a better job at work than you are at home."  Ouch.

As you can see by reading this post I really have nothing to say.  I am busy.  God spoke to me at the Ladies Retreat.  My husband is having a garage sale because I'm just not feeling that supportive right now.   God is working on me about my obligations at home versus work at the same time that I'm being given opportunity to share about Jesus at work. 

I am praying that I will be bold and loving as I try to live out this journey as a Christian.

What is new with you this week?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Planning Makes Me Happy

I let it slip to my ladies Bible study group that I'm a bit of a planner.  I fear they realize I'm even crazier than they thought.  Anyway, I felt compelled to share the religion of menu planning with them.  Okay, maybe religion is a slight exaggeration, but I take planning pretty darn seriously...

Here is a copy and pasted version of that email for your reading enjoyment:

Hey, in case you haven't noticed I'm desperate for blog material lately!

Okay, I know many of you think I'm totally crazy for my planning and scheduling and whatnot.  What can I say?  Schedules make me happy.  Knowing exactly what to expect for the week or better yet the month puts me at ease.  That is why I was so stressed over are we/aren't we moving.  Just give me an answer, and even if I don't like it, I know how to plan my life accordingly!

So, I decided to send you some spam (this is my permission to delete this email should you have no desire whatsoever to do this) and share an example of a menu with you.

I always have people ask me:  What if you don't feel like eating what you planned on that day?  Well, to that I say, simply choose something else off your menu!  You have 12 meals planned, something will sound good.  And to be honest, if I don't' feel like cooking it's usually because I have no idea WHAT to cook...

Okay, the first step is to look at my calendar and decide what is going on each evening and what time I will be home or if I will even get home in time to cook.  The meal is planned according to time and simplicity.  Obviously, Brent gets simple, quick meals.  He does not like to make elaborate meals.  He wants quick, easy one dish meals. I do too.  That's why we're a match made in heaven. <3

After I look at the calendar, I peruse my pantry and see what I have.  I then start thinking about what I'd want to cook for the next two weeks.

Yep, two weeks.  I hate going to the grocery store, and find I spend more money if I go too often.  My answer to that is only going twice a month.  Of course, now that I've been sucked into the dark world of couponing, I find myself "needing" to go more often so I can get cheap stuff.  And I find myself reluctant to buy anything without a coupon, so I tend to run out of things unexpectedly because I failed to buy ahead since I was hoping the item would go on sale/I'd find a coupon.  Obviously, my couponing has a few holes in the system.

But that is all too much pointless information.  I will now stop blathering at you and share a menu.

We eat out for lunch or if we are in a money crunch we eat fried egg sandwiches for lunch or something equally simple...  You know something that only takes 5 minutes to cook with minimal cleanup.
We eat popcorn, cheese and apples for dinner.  Or cereal.  Or leftovers.  But again, this momma ain't cooking on Sunday.

Tacos.  Go ahead and brown at least 2 or 3 lbs of hamburger.  You will need that later on.  Divide it up and freeze the unused in approximate one pound portions.  (Megan is laughing at me again here)
Slice up some onions and peppers and sautee them in olive oil.  It only takes a few minutes and it smells like you have made a complex meal.  Your husband will sing your praises when he walks in to that smell...
Refried beans (from the can, of course)
I actually make myself a huge salad out of these ingredients and spoon salsa and a dab of ranch dressing over lettuce.  It is fabulous and filling and better than all of those taco shells for my figure!

Money saving tip:  I buy Old El Paso taco seasoning in the jar.  It's easier to control the seasoning of your meat, and you can get a lot of tacos out of that one jar as opposed to seasoning packets.

Cuh-RAZY day...I'm on call, the girls have softball and piano and poor Brent has to be two places at once.  This day is a must on being quick and easy.

Crock pot chicken is a good answer for this.  Before I leave for work, I throw the following in the crock pot on low:
LOTS of chicken breasts (still frozen), can of tomatoes with green chiles, onions, garlic, and peppers.  I like to season it with Greek seasoning...Basically whatever you want.  It has all day to cook, so just have fun with it.  If you aren't crazy busy, and can actually watch this, you can throw in some rice or pasta in the last two hours of cooking.
Be sure to throw in lots of extra chicken.  You can take whatever you don't eat and shred it/cube it and freeze it for later use.  It has a great flavor and you are prepared for a quick meal another day!  Your food processor is your friend if you want to slice up lots of chicken double quick.

My day off!  Therefore my favorite day of the week.  I usually endeavor to make something fancy, like a lasagna. Everyone has a lasagna recipe, so I won't bore you with it, but you can email me and I'll send you my easy one if you want it.
Make some homemade garlic toast with any leftover hamburger or hotdog buns you may have.  Simply use 2 T olive oil (or butter for those women who's husband isn't complaining that they're killing him off with tons of cheese and he's watching his cholesterol) to 1/8 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of dried parsley and basil and brush it over the buns.  Rub the spices between your fingers to wake up the oils and have better flavor out of them.  I actually just toast these in my toaster (before I put on the oil mix).  If you want to do it in your oven on broil you can do that too.  Just keep an eye on it.  I actually caught my buns on fire a few months ago.  It was pretty exciting, let me tell ya!
Serve it with a tossed salad and your family will rise up and call you blessed!

Thursday has been pizza day in our house for over ten years.  Why change a good thing?  We all sit down and watch Survivor and eat our pizza.  We love Chef Boyardee pizza mix. 

Homemade hamburger helper (this is the basic recipe but it's never the same two times, change your spices to make it more Italian or whatever you want)
1 lb browned hamburger
1 pkg macaroni & cheese, uncooked
1/2 c milk
1 can ranch style beans, drained
1 can tomato sauce (or rotel, or diced tomatoes, whatever you have on hand)
1 T onion powder
1 clove garlic (or garlic powder, or refrigerated minced garlic, or whatever you have on hand, heck you can even leave it out!)
1 T chili powder
1 T corn starch
Mix the dry cheese from the macaroni with spices and corn starch in the milk.  Add all ingredients to skillet with hamburger.  Put in enough water to cover your noodles well.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until your noodles are cooked.  Top with grated cheese and let set to melt cheese and thicken mixture.  This is guaranteed to get lots of hugs and kisses from the family.

I generally serve this with corn and salad.  We eat a lot of salad around here.

Who wants to cook on Saturday?  I recommend planning to grill that day for supper.  It gives your husband something to do and reaffirms his position of provider in the house.  I'm all about keeping roles clearly defined.  And grilling is defined as a man's job in this house...And that's a convenient excuse to grill some burgers!
For lunch, why not use that leftover chicken to make some easy chicken quesadillas?  You can slice a dab of onion and cook it in the microwave until tender to give it a little extra flavor for the adult ones!  I consider a side of salsa the vegetable, but that's just me!

Hey!  We're back to Sunday, and I already covered that there is no cooking on Sunday!  Long live naps!

Easy chicken pot pie:
leftover chicken from your crockpot chicken (see why you wanted to cook extra?)
1 can cream of chicken
frozen vegetables
refrigerated pie crust
combine the first three, and throw them in your pie crust.  Bake at 350 until done.  It is simple.  It is fabulous.  You will never buy another Banquet pot pie as long as you live.  (Unless you have a coupon where it's free, and then you're forgiven.)

Remember crazy Tuesday?  I will give the husband a break and let him feed the girls corndogs or some other such shameful junk food that he chooses.  I keep them on hand for his use.  Of course, he often makes them a fried egg sandwich.  The good news is, my kids don't eat the yolk, so he fries the egg white in a dab of butter, fries up some deli ham, and serves it on toast with a slice of cheese.  He usually adds grapes or apples to this meal.  The kids love it.  I love it.  Everyone loves egg sandwiches.  They are comfort food at it's simple finest!

I happen to have a gazillion (slight exaggeration) roasts in my freezer.  I will put one in the crock pot (frozen of course, I really can't be bothered with thawing meat) along with some vegetables.  If I have two that will fit, I would like to leave out the vegetables and serve it with some green beans or steamed broccoli.  That way I will have leftover roast to make barbecue sandwiches out of later on!
Easy potatoes:
Scrub and dice potatoes. Place in microwave safe covered dish.  Drizzle on a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with garlic salt and add pepper and parsley to taste.  Microwave until done. 


I will be tired from a long week at work.  Possibly even cranky.  I will be more than happy to take that leftover roast, coat it in some good barbecue sauce and serve it on a bun that I will toast to make it seem like I did some work.  We will probably just eat some chips or maybe some of this cabbage salad with it:
Cole slaw that people like:  (hehehehe)
1 pkg cole slaw mix
3 green onions, sliced
1 pkg chicken ramen noodles
sunflower seeds
1/2 c oil
1/3 c vinegar
2/3 c sugar
Toast the noodles and nuts in the oven a few minutes to bring out the flavor.  Add to cole slaw mix and onions.
Mix the last three ingredients, plus the chicken seasoning packet from your ramen.  Poor over slaw just before serving.  

Hey!  It's the last day of this tedious two week menu that you thought would never end!

Reward yourself with a lovely Mexican casserole that is easy and yet quite delicious!
Combine the following in a dish lined with crushed corn tortilla chips
1 lb hamburger (Hopefully you still have some left.)
1 can green chiles
1 can tomato sauce
1 can cream mushroom
1 can cream chicken
Top all of this with generous amount grated cheese.  Bake at 350 until it bubbles, about 30 minutes.
Add in ideas:  Dark red kidney beans, drained.  Replace tomato sauce and green chiles with tomatoes with green chiles (drained), corn, chili powder...
Serve with a tossed salad and give yourself a big pat on the back for providing so many delicious, home cooked meals for your family!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I nagged the girls into taking a walk with me to the "cliffs" last weekend when we visited my folks.
I couldn't find my camera (it was in my book bag) so I was forced to take pictures with my phone.  Which I hate doing.  But can I just say that this scene is what my soul yearns for?  Wide open spaces, soap weeds and yucca plants.  Your nearest neighbor a mile away.

Granted, the pictures do not do the place justice, but some of my best memories were at these cliffs.  My brother, cousins and I used to carve our names in the sandstone walls, hoping to leave hieroglyphics for generations to come.  Oh, and we also had some game that involved pretending we were outlaws carving our names in our hideouts.  I think this had to do with watching too many John Wayne movies that always involved man hunts through canyons.

We had some exciting times last weekend.  It is rather disconcerting to try and walk to the cliffs when my dad's cattle were determined to chase us the entire way.  Seriously, the cattle were walking at our shoulder the entire way.  I could have ignored it, or even scratched their ears if it had just been us.  Only they weren't really interested in having their ears scratched as they were interested in trampling the dog.

It seems that children and dogs are an oddity in the pastures nowadays.  I asked Dad if the dogs stayed at home when we were kids.  You see, I've discovered that the cattle seem to consider Kelsey a threat, and their goal is to trample her to death.  Apparently, the cattle thought nothing of us traipsing through the pasture with dogs on our heels when we were all home. It was a normal sight to them those days.

Here's some bathroom humor for you.  I needed to use the "facilities" while we were hiking.  Unfortunately, there are no "facilities" in the pasture.  So I did what any good farm girl does.  I squatted in a crevice out of the 50 mph wind and did my business.

Shortly after my bathroom break, I commented on how I love that you can feel completely alone out there.  Popcorn informed me, "I don't like to be alone, unless I'm constipated."
 Naturally, I laughed.  Because I'm classy that way.

Only I had misunderstood her in the howling wind.  She actually said she only liked to be alone in her room.  How I got constipated out of that I have no idea.

Anyhoo, Bookworm stated in her matter of fact way, "Well of course you need to be alone when you're constipated.  You don't want everyone to know you don't eat enough vegetables."

She was mystified as to why I found that so funny.  Because that's what happens when you don't eat your vegetables.  Or if you aren't drinking enough water.

Don't you wish you had a nurse for a mom to nag you about all sorts of such nonsense?

Can you see Kelsey in the background, resting in the shade?  She had worn herself out.  Every time the girls kicked a rock loose and it went rolling down the slope, Kelsey would run down the cliff as fast as she could, slipping and sliding the whole way.  Determined to chase down the "threat" to the girls.  Then she would run back up as fast as she could.  

She was plum tuckered out when I shot this picture.  She had figured out that nobody was in immediate danger and was enjoying the view with the rest of us.

Of course, I should probably tell you that she decided the rocks were a bad thing when Popcorn was walking on a ledge above her sister and knocked loose a rock as big as a bowling ball.  I yelled at Bookworm to get out of the way, but all she did was scold her sister for "nearly killing her."  Kelsey however, sprung into action as soon as I yelled and tore after the rock.  I don't know what the dumb dog would have done if she'd actually have caught the rock.  Probably had a bad headache.

 Here's a picture of Popcorn trying to slide down the rocky slope on her feet.  

I tried to teach them to sit on their bottoms on the steep sandy slopes and slide down.  Sure you end up with pants and shoes full of sand, but it's fun!  It seems she finds it more thrilling to try and ski down.

I have no idea why my dad will not let them go down there without adult supervision...

Isn't this a lovely expression to end this post with?  And is that outfit perfect or what?  Camouflage to hide from hungry cougars.  Squaw boots so she can feel like a true Native American.  And lovely orange pants to top it off!

Oh, and speaking of Native Americans, Popcorn was weeping and "felt as if she would faint" if she didn't get water soon, and why wouldn't I use my cell to call Grandpa to bring the pickup to come get us, and she was exhausted.  I suggested the girls try the old Indian trick of sucking on a rock when they were dehydrated.

Both girls eagerly popped carefully chosen smooth round pebbles in their cheeks...

Apparently rocks taste a lot like dirt.