Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today is Aggie Day........WHOOP!!!!

It has been an exciting day around here. Stephen's parents came to meet Abby. We all wore our Aggie shirts in anticipation of the Alamo Bowl vs Penn State. As we are watching the game right now, Lauren is picking up on how football is played. She was sitting on the floor, cheering on our team, and when we didn't make the first down, she leaned over and put her face down on the floor and said, "We didn't do it." Every now and then she blurts out, "Gig 'em Aggies, Whoop!"
That's our little Aggie!
Gig 'em Aggies, BTHO Penn State!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 26- journal notes

Today we had to take Abby to the doctor so they could scan her head for a bilirubin check. The scanner indicated her level was 18 so they sent us over to the hospital (next door) for a blood test. That level came back 17.6 which was up from yesterday.

December 27-journal

Today we had to take Abby back to the hospital for another bilirubin check. We should be pros by now. The nurse sat us down in the chair and gave me the warming pouch for Abby's heel. She told me that Abby would scream. That was not a good sign. I suddenly became bold and I said, "Why will she scream, she didn't scream yesterday and our son never screamed when he came in 13 times last year?" She did not comment, she proceeded to stick Abby (no screaming) and then bend her tiny foot upward, towards her leg. THEN she screamed. I was so mad. I looked at Stephen and said, right in front of her, "What is she doing differently than the nurse yesterday?" Plus, this nurse smelled like she just finished smoking a pack. The smell of nicotine was in her skin, years and years of chain smoking. And she was touching my precious baby. She finished and told us to wait. We never had to wait before. We started talking to a college student who was also waiting. She said she was just accepted into nursing school and she was there for a drug test. She said the same nurse had taken her urine sample and flushed it down the toilet before she remembered to keep a sample for testing so she had to sit and drink water until she could produce another sample! As we left, I told Stephen that if she is there tomorrow, I will tell her she is not touching our baby again and I want another nurse.

The doctor's office called, Abby's bilirubin level is down to 16. We have to go back to the doctor tomorrow at 1:30 for a bilirubin scan (on her forehead). Please pray for an even lower bilirubin level!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Candy Cane Twists

#28 Candy Cane Twists by BHG Christmas Cookies '03 May freeze up to 1 month

This recipe has been moved to my cooking blog. Thanks for visiting.

25 Sweets Recipes in 25 days

#23 Sparkling Butter Toffee Cookies by Land O' Lakes
1 c sugar
3/4 c butter, softened
1 egg 1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 c English or almond toffee bits
1. Heat oven to 350. Combine sugar through vanilla in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1-2 min). Add flour, baking powder and baking soda; reduce speed to low. Beat until well mixed. Stir in toffee bits by hand.
2. Shape rounded tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4" balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each with bottom of glass to 2 1/4" circles (dip in sugar to prevent sticking).
3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar (colored) while warm.

25 Sweets recipes in 25 days

Saturday, December 22, 2007

25 Sweets recipes in 25 days

...will resume tomorrow. I'm on a blogging break since we just got home from the hospital this afternoon! I do have lots of hospital stories to share too!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Addition

The wait is finally over. Abigail Claire was born at 7:03 this morning (December 20th). She was 19 and a half inches and 5 lbs. 14 oz. Both Mommy and Abby are doing great.

Abby is such a bundle of joy and we could not ask for a better Christmas present. There will be more information coming soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baby Abby is on her way

I just left the doctor's office. I am dilated to a 4 and 80% effaced. Now some of you may say that if could be a week but when I was 36 weeks pregnant with Caleb and went in to the doctor, I was dilated to a 3, 50% effaced and in the hospital that night!

So check back for updates and pictures and please keep us all in your prayers, especially as my mom travels here from Fort Worth.

What I did last night and Daddy's presents

I know I told myself that being 35 weeks pregnant I would not be able to do my usual baking and candy making this Christmas season. That really depressed me. If you're a new reader, welcome and let me fill you in, I am a working mom with a 3 year old and a 21 month old and my constant swelling keeps me off my feet. Yesterday I had to fill an order for a co-worker. She wanted Layered Mint Chocolate Fudge, Oreo bark, and some nice white chocolates melted in my candy molds. That was no problem but I just couldn't stop there. I figured I might as well make my Toasted Pecan Cranberry Bark and Peppermint Bark. On top of that, Stephen had another Christmas Program to video so I was flying solo. The kids did great, I listened to them in the monitor just screaming and giggling and I knew there would be quite an aftermath in their rooms but they were not bothering me so I just left them alone. I was up until 11:15 packaging all the candy but I packaged up the extra candy to sell in the lounge and now I have some goodies to give the doctor when I go this afternoon. Oh yes, did I even mention that I also managed to wrap presents too?

Toasted Pecan Cranberry Bark

Oreo Bark

White Chocolate melted in candy molds.

Green white chocolate melted in candy molds. I forgot to take pics of the red but you get the idea.

I posted in my Monday blog about how Lauren was telling her daddy about his presents so I came up with a plan. As I wrapped present #1, I told her that it was called a "spanking stick." That's right, Daddy is getting a spanking stick. Present #2 is a naughty paddle and #3.....are you ready? I told her to say we got him, "Granny Panties!" It worked too. When he got home from his show, I asked him to test her and sure enough, she did just as we rehearsed. How about you guys, any tricks to keep the gifts a secret?

25 Sweets recipes in 25 days!

This recipe was moved to Aggieland Mommy Cooks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

All Food blogs about my weekend!

Friday night we moved Caleb's toddler bed to Lauren's room so he could get used to sleeping in there when my mom comes for Abby's birth. It actually went well.

Saturday was a day to remember for sure. I started out with another one of my lists- this one was a long list of everything I wanted to get done ON SATURDAY. This list included: pick up all clothes that have made it to the floor, including my DH's, organize all the Little People toys AGAIN since all 1,000 pieces were on the living room floor, clean the kitchen-not just the dishes, the counters, the floor, Caleb's seat which is his hiding place for snacks later, change sheets, get all the toys out from under the couch, get the idea. A perfectly do-able plan, except Stephen had to leave by noon to go video a show an hour away and my big ol' belly isn't gonna allow me to do half that stuff. Plus, I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions, several an hour. As noon approached, Lauren called out that she had to go to the bathroom...and it wasn't tee-tee. Poor thing has her poopie problem again. We had her on Miralax for months but she has been cured for awhile. So she basically sat there for almost an hour crying, I mean CRYING big crocodile tears. We gave her more Miralax but how long would that take? Stephen left for I turned back to the bathroom, I had to laugh at Caleb's efficiency in getting all the toilet paper off the roll and onto the floor. Then he decided it would be fun to play in the potty while his big sister sat there in agony, slobber hanging from her lips. I convinced him that playing in the dry tub would be more fun, at least for me. Then I sat there feeling helpless as Lauren cried her little eyes out.

At naptime, Caleb had half-way fallen asleep in my arms, something that he hasn't done in a long time. So I put Caleb to bed and then Lauren. She sleeps in a loft bed so we have to block the ladder to prevent Caleb from climbing up and doing daredevil stunts like taking leaps to the floor. Finally, naptime for Mommy too, right? After Lauren yelled from her bed once and then somehow climbed down the ladder and OVER the 4 foot tall kitchen that blocks her ladder, and only after threatening to call Santa to tell him that Lauren was not taking a nap, only then did she stay in bed and I managed a little nap- until Stephen called.

Not exciting? No, here is the good stuff...after dinner, DH took the kids for a bath. Caleb won't stay in long so Stephen was dressing him and he had put up a baby gate because ya know, if you don't, Caleb will make his way back into the tub-clothes and all. Lauren likes to stay and play until the water is so cold her lips turn blue. So there I was in the recliner with my feet up, still having contractions, Lauren in the tub, and she called, "Poopy Potty!" Stephen headed in to get her out of the tub and she yelled it again. Then she cried. Remember that Miralax? It kicked in. In the tub! Picture this, I jumped out of the recliner only the leg of my jammie pants got caught on the foot rest and after jamming my toe, I went right to the ground. I could not break loose from the chair. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to, I mean I knew what was waiting for me in the tub. So on top of my list for the day, I got to clean poopie out of a tub, scrub the tub with Comet and bleach, and bleach the toys. But I have to brag on my DH. I told him that I too needed a bath since a shower would require being on my feet. I already had candles lit in there and he rolled up a towel for my head and turned out the lights and I got to have a short Mommy moment. How nice!

And bedtime? The kids stayed up and played and giggled and we just let them. Lauren now tells Caleb that he is her friend, it's so sweet.

Yesterday was not so eventful, I don't think I could handle another day of so much fun. Stephen was hired to do a demo video for the Aggie Elite Wranglers to send to America's Got Talent. The kids and I went to finish up our Christmas shopping for Stephen. Lauren has done such a good job keeping his gifts a secret.

Naptime was a little challenging since both kids were awake when we put them down. They played and laughed and again Lauren got out of bed, her door flew open, and both kids came running down the hall laughing and screaming. We broke Lauren's heart when we put Caleb in his room for a nap. She cried for an hour for her little brother....their relationship is precious. I hope it lasts forever.

After her nap she wanted to change clothes. She loves changing clothes, that's why there are always clothes on the floor. She came into our room with this white halter-top/shorts outfit that is definitely for 75 degrees or above. I told her she could not wear it because it is too cold outside. So she says, "Are we going outside?" Okay, is she 3? Then a proud moment, she must have noticed the Cowboys were on TV because she said she was going to get her Cowboys' outfit. And that's what she did.

At bedtime Stephen took Lauren to potty and she told him, "We bought your presents. They are a secret. It's a secret that we got you socks. It's going to be a surprise" Then as he put her in bed, she told him, "You're getting pants too." That stinker!!!

Menu Plan Monday

Laura is hosting Menu Plan Monday. Here's what I think we're having this week- we have all the ingredients, let's see if we have the time....
Monday- leftovers that are filling up the fridge
Wednesday- Homemade Pizza
Thursday-Mexican Cornbread
Friday- Taco Soup

Friday, December 14, 2007

25 Sweets recipes in 25 days!

#28 Candy Cane Twists by BHG Christmas Cookies '03 May freeze up to 1 month

1 c butter, softened

1 c sifted powdered sugar

1 egg

1/2 t vanilla

2 1/2 c flour

1/4 c finely chopped peppermints

red food coloring

gran or colored sugar

1. In large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on med-high speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar; beat until combined.

2. Beat in eggg, vanilla, and dash of salt. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half.

3. Knead crushed peppermint candies into one half of the dough. If desired, stir red food coloring into peppermint dough to tint slightly. Leave remaining dough plain, cover, and chill doughs about 30 minutes until easy to handle.

4. Preheat oven to 375. Work with half of each dough at a time, keeping remaining dough chilled. For each cookie, on a lightly floured surface shape a 1" ball of plain dough into a 4-5" rope. Repeat with 1" ball of peppermint dough. Place ropes side by side & twist together. Pinch ends to seal. Form into a candy cane.

5. Place canes 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.

6. Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes or until edges are set. Immediately transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in layers, separated by wax paper, in airtight container at room temp or freeze up to 1 month.

6 Dozen Cookies- FINISHED!

I did not advertise my goodies this year because I knew I'd be too tired to fill all the orders and I feared that Abby might come before I could finish, but word of mouth is amazing and I got an order for 4 dozen decorated cut-out cookies. So I told myself I could do it in baby steps. Monday I made the dough. Tuesday I made the frosting, Wednesday I cut out as much as the dough would let me (Lauren got her own dough too) and I baked and baked. Last night, while Stephen was at a show, I decorated until 9:30, taking a short break to feed the kids. They're done and I'm pleased.

Great recipe!

A friend (who I think wants to remain anonymous) passed this along to me.

If you are looking for that special cookie recipe to share during the holidays, this is the one I make on Christmas Eve so I can deal with the "family" on this joyous occasion.

1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups of dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or raisins
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila (silver or gold, as desired)

1. Sample the Cuervo to check quality.Take a large bowl, check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
2. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
3. At this point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still OK, try another cup just in case.Turn off the mixerer thingy.
4. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit up off floor.Giggle.
5. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Giggle again.
6. Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity. Giggle some more.
7. Next, sift two cups of salt, or something, whatever. Check the Jose Cuervo.Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
8. Add one table full of that one stuff. Add a spoon of shuga, or somefink. Whatever you can find. It all looks the same.Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.Pick yourself up off the floor. Try not to giggle, it makes the floor fall out from underneath you.
9. Don't forget to beat off the turner.Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Doctor's do kids know these things? Grandmother

First, my appointement yesterday went well. Abby is in position and there is no concern that I'll have her in the next week. I showed my doctor my elephant ankles and she didn't seem concerned and I suddenly found that I was happy my mom left her 80s style boat/deck shoes at my house because I just slipped them on this morning.

Second, if you are squeamish, skip this paragraph. Monday night Lauren was concentrating on putting window clings in the window when the baby gate fell over on her foot and she screamed out in pain. Really, I've never heard her cry like this before and I wondered how bad could it possibly be? Well, her big toenail was purple. She cried and she cried. Last night she was proudly carrying around a rolling pin, waiting for us to make cookies. She followed me in to get Caleb from his nap and all of a sudden she cried out in pain again. I looked at the floor and there was blood splatter everywhere: on the rolling pin, on Caleb's mattress, on the carpet. Her poor little toe was bleeding and again, it took forever to get her mind off of her poor toe.

So I kept thinking what could I put on her toe to protect it from falling objects, little brothers, bumps, etc.... I thought and I thought and then I knew. Grandma had bought her some "Tink" slippers and they were wrapped and under the tree. Stephen agreed that this was our best solution. You should have seen her little face as she opened the present. She was so excited and it definitely took her mind off the pain. A little while later she said, "But at Wal-Mart you said Santa would get it."
"Get what Lauren?"
"Mommy, you said Santa would bring me the Tink slippers, not Grandma!"
Good grief, not only does she have a memory, but she also processes what you tell her and she holds you to it!
God love 'em!

Finally, there seems to be some good news about my grandmother, please read the update in the prayer requests section on the right and please continue to pray!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Update on my pregnancy

Well, I have an appointment at 1:30 today and I hope it's good news.
When I was pregnant with Lauren, I had major swelling the last few months. I had to buy a size 11 shoe, I usually wear 6 1/2. My hands swelled so bad that it hurt to close them. I was told that it was normal to swell in the summer plus I found out all the water I had been drinking was loaded with sodium. I didn't pay attention to the warning signs, either did my doctor, I gave birth to Lauren at 34 1/2 weeks. I had no contractions until hours after my water broke.

When I was pregnant with Caleb, I did not have swelling, at all! I carried him to 36 1/2 weeks. I was at the doctor that morning and she told me I was dilated to a 3. She said it could be later that day or even a few weeks but I told her I'd see her later that day. It was a VERY busy day, I did not rest at all. Stephen went to video a show and my mom (whom I called that morning and told her to head on down from Cowtown) and I ran errands. My contractions started at about 9:30 that night.

Here I am at 34 weeks and 6 days and the swelling is no longer controllable. Each day I've gone home and put my feet up. I've stayed off of them as much as possible with 2 toddlers. Each morning my swelling had gone down, but not this morning. My size 11 slip-on sandals are tight. I've had them off for an hour now and there are still impressions in my feet. I've been having mild Braxton-Hicks contractions for the passed week, and there have been some other sharp, shooting pains....well....down there.

So please pray that I can get the swelling under control and continue to work until the 21st, that's our last day.

Thanks and I'll keep ya posted!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

12 Days of Christmas

So when really are the 12 Days of Christmas? And where did that crazy song come from? As Kathleen explains it: The Twelve days of Christmas are between Christmas and Epiphany or “We Three Kings (The Magi or Three Wiseman) Day”, January 6th. It is thought by some that it took the Three Wise Men twelve days to travel to Bethlehem. In the Catholic Church Christmas season doesn’t officially begin until Christmas Day and ends when the Wise Men bring gifts to their Savior in Bethlehem. Few practice this tradition of giving in the United States but some still do.

The Christmas carol is thought to be written by a Catholic and an Englishman, as the song originates from Great Britain, sometime before or during the 16th century. It was popular in Great Britain and Scandinavia during this time, which is why many believe that the song had a powerful sub message due to persecution. We may never know for sure but the attributed meanings are still very relevant and for those who want to teach their children a few Bible lessons, this song is a wonderful tool.

My True Love — God (The Trinity – three in one) Matthew 28:19, John 10:30, John 14:6, John 17:11, 20-22, 1 John 5:7Me — The Baptized Christian
Partridge in a Pear Tree — Jesus Christ our Savior
Two Turtle Doves — The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens — Faith, Hope and Love (1 Corinthians 13)
Four Calling Birds — The Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Five Gold Rings — The First Five Books of the Bible (Pentateuch)
Six Geese A-Laying — The Six Days of Creation (Genesis 1)
Seven Swans A-Swimming — The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12-14, Isaiah 11: 2-3)
Eight Maids A-Milking — The Eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 3-12)
Nine Ladies Dancing — The Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)
Ten Lords A-Leaping — The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 2-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21, Matthew 22: 36-40)
Eleven Pipers Piping — The Eleven Faithful Disciples
Twelve Drummers Drumming — The Twelve Points of the Apostle’s Creed, The Twelve Tribes of Israel, The Twelve Days of Christmas

Isn't that neat? Now you know!

Christmas version of getting to know you...

I keep getting these from different friends. Some of the questions are the same, some are different so I have combined them and my OCD personality made me organize them so the tree questions are together and the gift questions are together...somebody stop me! it is:

1. When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving while watching the Aggies beat t.u. WHOOP!
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial for now
3. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? It's mostly maroon and gold with Aggie ornaments of course but each year brings more Hallmark ornaments-we need another tree- or at least space for another tree
4. What is on top of your tree? An angel in a maroon dress
5. Colored or white lights? White but I do miss the blinking colored lights from my childhood
6. Do you hang mistletoe? always forget
7. When do you take your tree down? after January 6 (Epiphany)
8. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes
9. When do you start shopping for Christmas? whenever I see that perfect gift.
10. Hardest person to buy for? my parents and his parents
11. Easiest person to buy for? kids
12. Worst gift you ever received? I don't remember
13. Wrapping paper or gift bag? Wrapping paper
14. Does Santa wrap the presents or just set them under the tree? Wraps them all in Santa paper
15. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Only at Chinese Gift Exchange
16. Open Christmas presents Christmas eve or Morning? Morning
17. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, we did as kids, after midnight mass
18. Do you remember your favorite gift? I'd have to think for awhile
19. Which do you like best giving or receiving? Giving
20. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? mail!
21. Travel for Christmas or stay home? Usually travel but can’t this year- too close to due date
22. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? ABSOLUTELY!
23. Most annoying thing about this time of year? School doesn’t get out until Dec. 21
24. What you love most about Christmas? Faith, Family, Friends, decorations, music
25. Favorite Christmas tradition? Going to my mom's family's get together
26. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? EGG NOG!! have some in my fridge and Stephen doesn't like it so it's mine all mine!
27. What is your favorite holiday dish? I think I like it all the same...
28. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Pecan Pie and all the candy (fudge, truffles, etc..) that my Aunt Joanie makes (I make a lot now too)
29. Do you like candy canes? yes
30. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Going to Mommiegrans on Christmas Eve every year...going to midnight mass with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family. Hearing Santa's sleigh bells as we left mass, and all the fun with the cousins the next day! One year Uncle Chris put all the kids to bed and showed us Rudloph's nose (water tower light)
31. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Huh? What do you mean?
32. Snow: Love it or hate it? Love it – never get it
33. Can you ice skate? Yes but it's been years!
34. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Being with family and creating new memories with my children which includes teaching them about The True Gift God gave to us
35. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Oh my gosh, I like them all. I'm making a list this year of all my favorite artists for each song in case I get an iPOD. I do get choked up when I hear, "Let There Be Peace On Earth" and "Angels We Have Heard On High"
36. What is your favorite holiday movie? The original Miracle on 34th Street

So there you have it. That's what I love about Christmas!

25 Sweets recipes in 25 days!

#13 Chocolate Toffee Bars by Baker's
1 c butter, softened
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla
1 pkg 8 squares semi-sweet chocolate, ch
1 c chopped pecans, toasted

1. Heat oven to 350. Line 13x9" baking pan with foil; lightly grease foil.
2. Beat 3/4 c of brown sugar and 3/4 c butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg yolk; beat well. Beat in flour and salt until well mixed.
4. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan- spray back of plastic spoon to spread without sticking.
5. Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on wire rack.
6. Meanwhile: mix remaining butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, and vanilla in large microwavable bowl until well blended. Microwave on high 4 minutes, stirring halfway through heating time. Spread evenly over crust in pan.
7. Bake 18-20 minutes or until set. Sprinkle top with chopped chocolate. Bake 1-2 minutes longer or until melted. Smooth surface evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool completely on wire rack.
8. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Cut into bars or diamond shapes to serve. Store tightly in covered container. Makes 3 dz bars.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Festive look

I got a bloggity make-over and didn't even ask. My DH just called and told me to check out our blog. I call it that cuz it is our family blog but I'm the only one bloggin', ladies you know how it is. Anyway, he created a header for me and I changed the colors to be all festivy. I think he's working on a good ol' Texas Christmas song. Okay, we're having trouble with the Texas song and since there hasn't been an Aggie Christmas song released, you'll have to listen to Nat.

Menu Monday

I don't usually have a specific day picked out for my meals but I know this is what we're having this week. When I plan ahead, it never fails that the meat I need doesn't get taken out of the freezer in time.

Monday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Tuesday: Butternut Squash Soup
Wednesday: Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Thursday: Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
Friday: Crock Pot Chicken Tetrazzini

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday Crafts site

All Things Christmas
Thanks Aunt Carolyn

25 Sweets Recipes in 25 Days

#10 Orange Delight Balls (very quick & easy)
1 box Vanilla wafers, finely crushed
1 c pecans, finely chopped
6 oz can concentrated orange juice, thawed
1 stick butter, melted
16 oz powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients except coconut. Chill. Roll into balls. Roll in coconut (optional).

Friday, December 7, 2007

What's your Grinch Name?

Mine is Testytroll Fussybottom
Seriously, who comes up with these things?


Lauren was singing a Christmas tune the other day, have you ever heard of "Walkin' in a window of Aladdin?"

Last night I was flipping stations and stopped when I heard Journey, ya know, "Don't Stop Believin'", "Open Arms", "Faithfully" ? From the 80s? So I finished singing the song and so proudly told Lauren, "That's Journey, can you say Journey?" She replied, "Why do they have 'germs'? " Stephen and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Children are so precious! We'll have a Journey 101 lesson after Christmas. I might even have to buy a CD or two since cassettes are so stone-age.

Another Special Day

Happy Birthday to my cousin Nick!

He is the one on the far right. Nick is currently serving his 3rd deployment somewhere in the middle east! Please pray for his safety along with his fiancee who also serves proudly in the military!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's a Special Day

4 years ago today Stephen and I got married. I don't have any pics from our wedding on my work computer -Stephen, could you send me a few please? This pic is from our date night a few weeks ago.
For those of you who don't know, I met Stephen in a car accident. I was driving on the highway in Arlington, almost at my exit when all of a sudden everyone hit their brakes. It was not rush hour and very unusual to have traffic at this spot. The lady in front of me accelerated and then hit her brakes again. When I hit my brakes, Stephen hit me. My first thought was to call the police but his first thought was to jump out and run up to see if I was okay. I was a little frustrated because Heather just had Lexi and I was going to go see them at the hospital. Stephen and I waited almost 2 hours for the police to arrive and since it was a March evening, it got pretty chilly. I told him he could sit in my back seat and we talked. When the policeman did arrive, I was shivering and sweet Stephen offered me his coat. Then the officer wanted to call a tow truck for my SUV but Stephen helped pull out some of the damaged fender so I could at least drive home. He sort of hinted at going to get a drink but I had already asked my parents to meet me at my house so I had to decline (didn't want to look desperate and cancel with my parents). I really didn't want it all to end so I just asked him if he had a copy of all my information in case he needed to contact me....hey, it was the best I could do, okay? And we both drove away.
The next night he called to, "see if I was okay." I was in a very noisy Wal-Mart and the conversation seemed to go nowhere (I didn't know he was really shy) so I had to let him go after awhile. That next night I sat through 2 freezing softball games, watching Hyla's daughter play. I started sneezing and sniffling and coughing, I was a mess by the time I got home. While at the game, Hyla convinced me to call Stephen. That's what I did. He was working, I was at home all comfy in my jammies, feeling a cold coming on and we talked for hours. Then when his shift was over, he asked about that drink. It was so impulsive but after pointing out my constant sneezing and coughing, I agreed, got dressed again, and that was our first date. He proposed on June 1 and 6 months later got married.

Happy Anniversary honey, I love you. Thanks for the best 4 years of my life.
Hyla, thanks for convincing me to call him- that's what best friends are for!

Also The feast of St. Nicholas is on Dec. 6th. It is a highlight of the Advent season. Each child puts out a shoe the night before St. Nicholas Day in the hope that the kind bishop — with his miter, staff, and bag of gifts — will pay a visit. The current “Santa Claus” is modeled after St. Nicholas, but commercialism has tarnished the true story. Many families give gifts on both Dec. 6 and Christmas.
Here's a great link I bloglifted from Julia

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cookies and Cream Fudge

Cookies and Cream Fudge has been moved to Aggieland Mommy Cooks

Thursday's recipe

Help! What gets ink out of fabric?

My SAH husband just called to ask if the ink from the ink pad I gave Lauren will come out. I asked why and he said our DARLING Caleb got ahold of it and it's not only all over his face but the carpet and the couch too! I probably shouldn't have done this but I said, "Take pictures honey, this is great blog material." Then I said to try baby wipes because I've heard they take anything out of anything.
Future Blue Man Group Member- or Smurf? You decide!

That's sign language for "MORE"

Any other suggestions?
Sandra, thanks for your idea, his nails still look like the picture, it was great fun to go shopping with him last night!
I have to add that this happened while Stephen was preparing a Crock Pot meal for dinner. When he started the ink pad was safe on the table with Lauren.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Postal Grinch strikes again

aka: An update to the story about the post office "losing" our mail.

Back in the middle of October I wrote about how we aren't receiving all our mail. I did a little checking around and found out that several of the ladies in our Mom's group at church have also not received mail a time or two. We all live in different neighborhoods so chances are that it is not our actual mail carrier but someone at the post office. It always seems to be cards that are tempting to the postal eye. At Halloween it happened to us again. My mom sent the kids each a card. We never got them. On Oct. 17 I called my post office and I took careful notes of what the lady told me. She said she'd personally write her initials on each piece of our mail and if we received anything without her initials, to let her know immediately. Okay, let's think about this...if I didn't receive a card, it wouldn't really matter if it had her initials or not, would it? Guess what, after several days her initials were still not on any of our letters. I called her back on the 23rd. She said she'd make sure it got done. It didn't so my husband went in to the post office and asked for her. A supervisor from Houston came out and said she was helping out. She said all our mail would be bundled and counted and we too should keep count. If anything turned up missing, we'd go compare numbers. Meanwhile, my mom bought 2 more cards and sent them registered, which means she had to pay lots more to have them delivered. And so the latest incident? My mom mailed Stephen a card for his birthday. It had a check in it...which would be okay anywhere else in the world...but not here. We never got it! She also mailed a little 'thank you' card with it. We got the little card and Mom canceled the check. Stephen went to the post office where a different supervisor from Houston took his complaint. The man asked, "Do you suspect mail fraud?" Uhhhhh, yeah! The man said not to tell him anything else and he gave Stephen a phone number to call and report it. The man said there is a team from Houston that is working here so they can try to correct the problems. So.....Aggieland beware...there's a mail grinch looming out there.

Another debt paid off- POOF!

Those of you that have known me for years already know this part of the story, you may want to scroll down to the last paragraph.

When Stephen and I got married 4 years ago (this Thursday), we never imagined we'd face so many financial events all at once. For example, we met by having a car accident. We each had to pay deductibles. We moved before my house sold so we had 2 mortgages for 3 months. On the way to our honeymoon cruise ship, one of my SUV's tires shredded and we almost flipped. There was significant damage to the SVU, it wasn't drivable and we were in the middle of nowhere waiting for a tow truck. We actually had the ship waiting for us before leaving port. So we bought 4 new tires as soon as we made it home from our honeymoon. 8 1/2 months later our daughter was born 5 1/2 weeks pre-mature and was rushed to the children's hospital in Houston, about 2 hours away. Isn't insurance supposed to cover everything? We were in Houston for 3 weeks, eating every meal out and sleeping at the Ronald McDonald House. Since Blue Cross Blue Shield starts their fiscal year Sept. 1, guess what? We were billed thousands for me, the maximum out of pocket $2500 for Lauren before Aug. 31 and then another $2500 maximum out of pocket for Lauren for Sept. 1 etc... PLUS, BCBS said the ambulance ride to Houston was out of network (since they had a different tax ID number than the hospital) so we were billed thousands for that. Then she had to get special shots every month so she wouldn't get RSV. Those shots cost a couple thousand. And the list goes on... More medical bills came when I surprisingly got pregnant with Caleb the next year. Then Lauren had an ER visit.....

We were getting phone calls almost daily from medical bill collectors all while we were barely keeping our head above water with the other bills. I have to say we were NEVER late with other payments but we were very worried about the mounting medical bills....until a few friends in the mortgage business reassured us that while medical goes on your credit report, it is not held against you when you want to buy a house or car. SERIOUSLY? As long as you pay something, it will not reflect poorly on your report! So we have been paying about $10/month per bill since then. Wish we would have known that sooner. And by paying $10 per month, we have really gotten some surprising deals. Which leads me to the point of this rambling:

Stephen got a call the other day about an outstanding bill at the hospital. It was combined for Caleb's jaundice bloodwork, Lauren's visit to the ER, and one other thing. The remaining total was $684 but she said if we would pay $384, she would forgive the other $300. She said she would take two payments of $192. I told Stephen to ask her what about if we payed $350, could she forgive the rest? AND SHE DID! Then you think what if I offered $325? Or $300? Now if we had the money to pay off our medical debts, believe me, we would, but since we don't (remember I am a teacher and Stephen is a SAHD), we will take whatever deals come our way!

Monday, December 3, 2007

25 (or more) Family Activities

In addition to the 25 sweets recipes in 25 days, I would like to post some ideas for Advent/Christmas family activities. I did start an Advent section.
Thanks Aunt Carolyn!

A co-worker and also friend from church shared a family tradition with me that I want to start this year. She said that each Thanksgiving weekend she would lock herself in her room with a calendar and fill in each day in December with something fun their family would do together. Then, she would cover each day with a tear-away flap and each day a different child got to reveal the exciting event. Her 4 children are now college-aged and she said the youngest was upset last year when she did not make the calendar.

Here are some ideas but I would really love to hear your ideas as well:
1. Help your children make an Advent wreath-
a) get a mini wreath and mini candles at the craft store
b) string green tri-beads on a pipe cleaner...6 green, one pink (for the pink candle), 6 green.....
c) make a countdown chain either red & green for Christmas or 6 green, one pink, 6 green...

2. Have family games night.
3. Find out when your city is having their Christmas parade and go (unless it's at naptime like ours was)!
4. Make a clay dough ornament .
5. Family movie night.
6. Dec. 6 is St. Nicholas day. Read a story about St. Nick and research world traditions about him.
7. Bake treats to give away to neighbors, doctors, clergy and church staff, etc...
8. Go deliver the treats.
9. Family puzzle night.
10. Read, 'Legend of the Candy Cane' and make candy cane cookies.
11. Make a gingerbread house and read the 'Gingerbread Man'.
12. Go to a movie.
13. Make magic reindeer food.
14. Make Jesus' birthday cake.
15. Visit a nursing home.
16. Get a name from your church's angel tree, shop for the gift, and deliver it togther.
17. Bake cookies
18. Go to Santa's Wonderland
19. Read one of Tomie de Paola's many Christian books like 'Legend of the Poinsettia'
20. Go to a local church's Living Nativity
21. Make mixes in a jar for friends and neighbors.
22. Attend a local Christmas concert. Support the local high school, their performances are free.
23. Go ice-skating.
24. Read age-appropriate story about the birth of Christ.
25. Unwrap the first gift (baby Jesus) because this was God's first gift to us.

Click on "comments" to add your ideas.