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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another good recipe

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

This recipe has been moved to my cooking blog.


May? What happened to the first 4 months of the year? Does anyone else feel the same way? I mean it really seems like last week that I was in the hospital giving birth to Abby. But that was 4 months ago.

What I am looking forward to in May:
school being out
Stephen's business always booms in May
"Getting" into our new house
Abby's Baptism
Seeing friends and family at Abby's baptism
Making the new house a home

What I am not looking forward to in May:
all the testing and paperwork to do before school is out
Stephen's business keeping him extremely busy
MOVING into our new house and leaving town the next day
Trying to get all the baptism plans done while moving
unpacking and giving everything a home

I'm a little OCD and like keeping important dates all in one place. I'm not good at filling out calendars each year so now I keep repeating events in my bloggy calendar. The rest of this post is basically what I need to remember in May from year-to-year. It's not really designed for the reader.

May in general- Mayfest in Fort Worth; May Day; Mother's Day

1: Avery's birthday
10: Uncle John's birthday
11: 2008 Mother's Day
14: movers come take everything away
15: close on both houses and get the keys
16: go to Fort Worth
17: Abby's baptism; Aunt Joanie & Uncle Paul's anniversary
20: Mommiegran's birthday
24: Ryan's birthday
30: Last day of school - my happiest day of the year

We didn't read the fine print

because there wasn't any! I am so disappointed at Ben & Jerry's y'all! We never take the kids out for ice cream because up until last Friday, we were trying to get all our credit cards payed off. Last night we told the kids that we were going to have special ice cream after dinner. I had to feed Abby until 7:30 and we loaded them all up and headed out. When we got there, we had to drive around for quite some time to find a parking space. Then it takes an extra minute or two to get all the kids out, Caleb in the stroller and Abby in the Moby. We walked up to the door at close to 8:00 and three employees greeted wasn't really a greeting, "We cut the line off 20 minutes ago." My husband and I were puzzled, there were no times posted on the internet, "but here is a 10% off coupon." Uh, gee, thanks Mr. Ice Cream Guy! We walked over to let the kids see the beautiful fountain that shoots at least 50 feet into the air, my kids have never seen these things in Aggieland before. Stephen was really upset. I told him maybe he should go let them know that the internet did not have any times posted. By now it was 8:02. The lady he talked to told him that they stopped the free cones at 8:00 and it was posted on their window. Well, that didn't help, it made me a little more mad because it wasn't 8:00 when we got there. I know it was a promotion and I shouldn't be too upset because it was a FREE deal but it seems a little sneaky to me.

Since we promised the kids ice cream, I asked Stephen if he wanted to go ahead and get some and he said not there. We drove over to Cold Stone...the kids got some ice cream and they got to stay up late!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Free Ice Cream !

I'm not kiddin' y'all! I guess we've had a Ben & Jerry's for about a year now and haven't been but I do declare we're going today! Chunky Monkey, here I come!

Strawberry Shortcake

I moved this recipe to Aggieland Mommy Cooks but trust me, you won't want to miss this one. It is the God's gift to mommies!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Caleb's New Bike

Great News!

We have officially payed off our last credit card! My friends and family all know that we've been faced with a lot of unpredictable hardships starting with the day we met in March 2003. We met in a car accident! So we started out with deductibles. Then when we moved to Aggieland, my house in Fort Worth had not sold and we were renting this house until we could buy it so we were paying 2 house payments for almost 5 months. We put our wedding and honeymoon on credit cards and 8 months later our first child was born prematurely. She was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Houston where she stayed for 3 weeks. You can not imagine the expenses for us to stay away from home that long. Can you imagine the costs just in meals? And our insurance fiscal year started over during that time so we had to pay the maximum out of pocket $2500 two times. When we brought her home we had to rent equipment for her and then she had to have very expensive RSV shots for 6 months. When she was 10 months old we found out we were expecting #2. There were some concerns from the first sonogram so we had to have another and that cost us money. When Caleb was born, he had jaundice so we had to go to the lab DAILY for bloodwork and again we had to rent a bili light. I didn't have all 6 weeks saved up at work so I went unpaid half of the leave.

Last May I found out I was pregnant with #3 and again, there were concerns which required extra sonograms. When she was born, she had jaundice and again we had to rent a bili light. Again, I did not have the 6 weeks maternity leave saved up at work and 15 days of my leave were unpaid.

See, one thing after another. But God is good and sent us help.

We did it with help from family. We were so lucky to have a truck given to us so we could sell one vehicle and reduce our payments. We were so blessed to be given two family loans. Now we can focus on paying those loans off so we will be completely DEBT FREE!

By the way, we stopped using credit cards almost 3 years ago and will never do so again!

Friday, April 25, 2008

I've been tagged again

See what happens when you read other blogs? You get tagged. This time Melissa got me.
Here are the rules of the meme:
1. When tagged, place the name and URL on your blog.
2. Post rules on your blog.
3. Write 7 non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Name 7 of your favorite blogs.
5. Send an email/comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged.

Here I go:

1. I am an obsessive compulsive list maker. I'm not talking about grocery lists and Wal-Mart lists. I mean lists of party ideas, lists of the 50 something cake pans I have, lists of all the things I want to do with my kids this summer, lists of all the places I want to go on family vacation. I have to have a giant binder for all of my lists!

2. Symmetry! I can't stand it when people have bumper stickers on one side of their window but not the other. If you have just one, put it in the middle. I didn't buy a house one time because the door was on the far left side of the house. Doesn't that look funny to the rest of you? I must have balance.

3. I have the best aunts and uncles in the world. They immediately came to my rescue when my mom died 2 weeks ago. I just wish gas didn't cost so much so we could go visit them more.

4. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins play instruments very well and for Christmas we used to all bring our instruments and play Christmas songs.

5. I love planning parties

6. I cherish my friends

7. Even though I am going through a lot right now (moving, death of my mother, busy time at work, etc..) I've never been happier in my life and I love my husband and kids deeply!

There, I did it. Now I have to tag seven people? Oh my. Heather, Julia, Elizabeth, Sandra, Deidre, Tales From the Crib, and Blair

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Funeral Fiasco

Have a plan, please have a plan. Make sure your loved ones have plans and ask for copies so you won't have to go searching for them if/when something happens.

Hearing the news that my mom died was horrible but finding out that there was absolutely no funeral plan was a nightmare! Throw in the fact that I had to do ALL the planning and take care of my 3 little ones and then you have a true blue basket case!

So, here is how my week went starting with April 10 when we heard the news about my mom. I was at school and my student did not come to class. For some reason, I decided not to call and remind her teacher to send her. It's a good thing because that's when my dad called me. He was hysterical. I could not understand one thing he said. Finally my SIL got on the phone and told me that my mom died. Wow, that was incomprehensible. What? Huh? My mom was gone forever without saying goodbye? No, that couldn't be, we were planning a trip up there the next day for my son's already delayed 2nd birthday party. Then my SIL started to tell me that her kids were still at school and did not know and ....wah wa wah wah wah. I told her I had to go. I called my principal first and she insisted that I not leave until she come and talk to me. I called Stephen and let him know that I would be home soon and we had to leave town in the next few hours. My principal and assistant principal came down to make sure I could drive myself home. They were wonderful, they told me not to worry about a thing at work.

I drove home at around 2:30 and started thinking about all that we had to do before we could leave town. I had to get into my mom's email to get her friends' phone numbers to notify them because my parents don't have the internet. Stephen had to burn pictures of my mom from the passed 5 years. We had to pack for all the kids but we didn't know how many days to pack for. Luckily we had just done most of the laundry. I had to call and tell my aunts and uncles, how was I going to tell them? My mom's cousin called from Ohio. It is so hard to pack and talk on the phone at the same time. We had to make sure we got everything for Caleb's birthday party.

We loaded up at 6:45, stopped at McDonald's for some dinner to-go, and were on the road at 7:00. We pulled into my parents' driveway at 10 and had to scramble to get the kids settled and into a bed somewhere.

Then it happened. We knew it would, but we hoped it wouldn't. Lauren asked where Grandma was. It broke our hearts. We reminded her how our dog Chase went to be with Jesus last year. Now I know there are mixed beliefs about pets going to Heaven but we're trying to explain things to a very smart 3 year old. So we told her that Grandma went to be with Jesus too and she immediately cried. She sobbed. We cried too and her daddy just held her.

Friday morning my dad started making calls to funeral homes and cemetaries. All the phones were ringing constantly. My aunt called to say she was on her way and she was stopping by the store so we asked her to pick up the kids' favorite foods. Aunt Patty to the rescue, she also brought a lot of neat toys for the kids. She started picking up and cleaning and I helped as much as I could. Each time my dad answered the phone, he broke into tears. I offered to call people for my dad but he insisted on doing it himself. He did the best he could with the church arrangements, but he is not Catholic so he didn't know the right questions to ask so I took over. Neighbors came by to drop off food, neighbors that I had never met. Aunt Ellen and Uncle John came and brought food and helped clean up a little. Aunt Michelle and Uncle Chris came next and one of my best friends, Mandy. The rest is all a blur. I had a pretty ugly fight with my dad that night. It was about being an organ donor. He was already upset because my mom wanted to be cremated.

Saturday morning it was Aunt Patty to the rescue again. She came to watch the kids so Stephen and I could take my dad to a funeral home. While we were there, Aunt Joanie and Uncle Paul came to relieve Aunt Patty. Oh, the kids were so happy to be given such attention. Then many, MANY people with good intentions called to ask me when we were having the rosary and when were we doing this and what about that? I was trying to finish decorating the cake for Caleb's party in less than 3 hours. We needed to have his party. We didn't get to the party site as early as I wanted to to set up but I knew that my wonderful friends and family understood and would help out. It was a good break from everything that was going on. As soon as we got home, the chaos started right back up again.

Sunday I got more calls from all my mom's friends telling me this had to be done a certain way and what about last rites? I called the church and the wonderful coordinator so lovingly asked me if I could go to the church immediately. She gave me a book on planning a Catholic funeral. She showed me the many different options and the music I needed to pick as well as the readings. She let me vent and told me nice ways to tell everyone else that I had it all under control. That night we had to load up the kids and go 30 miles to use a friend's computer to make the programs. They have a 4 year old and a one year old so you can imagine all the fun we were having trying to get funeral things done. We pushed our kids to the limit by keeping them out way passed their bedtime. We were only half done at 10:00 and we had a 30 minute drive ahead of us.

Monday I took my dad back to the funeral home to sign papers and I dropped off the dress I had picked for my mother to wear. The director asked me if I brought a picture so he would know how to do her make-up. That day I also needed to take the list of my music and reading choices to the church. The church is right next to Wal-Mart and I had to run to Wal-Mart for so many things including picture frames and paper for the programs. When I got there I realized I had forgotten the church list. Just when I didn't think I could handle any more, our realtor called to tell us we had an offer on our house. She was going to email the contract to us...but we had no internet! We counter-offered over the phone. That night it was back to Mandy and Shane's to finish the programs and print some pictures. Shane had already finished the programs- friends are wonderful! It was another late night with cranky kids up passed their bedtimes.

Tuesday I just wanted to be finished with all the plans and not have to go anywhere. Our realtor told us we had to print that contract, sign it, and fax it back. We drove to Stephen's mom's office which took about 20 minutes. It was lunchtime, gotta feed the kids. Once we got to his mom's office, he found out his website had expired without warning and he couldn't get on to his email. We called the realtor and had her send the documents to my email address. We made it back to my dad's way after naptime, we signed papers and Stephen went to Kroger to fax them away. We sure spent a lot of time on the phone with the realtor that day. Tuesday night my old next-door neighbor and her husband came over for dinner and just to visit. A little later Aunt Joanie, Uncle Paul, Christy, and Megan came by. My cousins helped me arrange the pictures of my mom into the collage frames I bought. That saved me a lot of time.

Wednesday Stephen's parents came to be with the kids while we got dressed for the funeral. The family viewing was at 12:30, friends viewing and rosary at 1:00, and the memorial mass was at 2:00. One of the people who was insisting on the rosary, wasn't even there! Unfortunately it was 4:30 when all was said and done so we had to stay another night.

So please make your own plan today and ask your parents about their wishes. We forgot to notify one of my mom's aunts. Ask your loved ones for a list of people you need to contact in the event of their untimely death. Go by your church and ask for a book on planning a funeral. It will save you hours and days of heartache!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We sold our house and yesterday we signed the contract on our new house. I wish I could be really excited but I can't. The buyer insisted that we close on or before May 15. We are leaving town on May 16 for Abby's baptism in Fort Worth on May 17. We offered to close on May 9 and the buyer did not respond. After more than 24 hours, our realtor called his realtor and found out he was mad at us for picking May 9, not sure why that upset him. Then we asked if we could lease the house back for a few days, you know, so we could move. The buyer's lender said no! They said the buyer had to take possession at closing so now we are in a big jam! We have movers coming on the 14th to load EVERYTHING, including the refrigerator. Stephen and I have just decided to "camp out" in our house that night with sleeping bags for us and air mattresses for the kids. Then on the morning of the 15th, we'll pack up our camping gear and head to closing. We have a friend lined up to watch the kids if she can.

So that's why I am NOT excited about moving!

What women say...what men hear!

Welcome to my first issue of "What women say....what men hear." I decided to blog about this after a few things happened while we were at our friends' making programs for my mom's funeral. If you didn't read the post I wrote about Stephen's misunderstandings about sausage and caramel, you must read that before you continue.

Mandy and Shane had made a wonderful dinner and the husbands were putting the kids in their seats at the table.
Mandy said to her husband: Put a towel under Caleb. All women who are reading this can clearly picture her husband picking Caleb up off the seat and putting a towel down, right?
What her husband did: Spread out a towel under the chair. Yep, my husband would have done the same thing.

The next night as Mandy and I were on the computer picking out pictures for the funeral, Shane came in and asked her if she wanted him to bathe the boys. She had already asked him earlier but she shook her head yes and told him yes, it was getting late.
What her husband did: Went back into the kitchen and loaded dishes into the dishwasher.
What I did: laughed and told her that my husband does the same thing.

Come back for more stories about: What women say...what men hear.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is one of my best friend's birthdays. I met Hyla in Kindergarten and from 6th through 12th grade we had all of our classes together except when she took Spanish. Needless to say we have many, MANY wonderful memories.

Happy Birthday Hyla! I love you!

Lauren said

Lauren always says our meal prayers and they usually sound just like her bedtime prayers but this is how it went last night, "Dear God, thank you for this day, bless our body, keep us safe and healthy, and make Papa feel better. Papa is sad about Grandma but I'm not sad about Grandma."

I asked, "You're not?"
Lauren answered, "No, because Grandma is here with me now."

And my eyes filled with tears.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Funeral Arrangements for Carol Schnaithman-Parnian

Thank you all for your beautiful thoughts and prayers! I am without the internet at my parents' house but right now I am at a dear friend's house making programs so I have a quick minute to give everyone a quick update. I'll be back home Thursday and back to work on Friday. Here are the arrangements:

Wednesday, April 16

12:30 Family (Parnians and Schnaithmans) visitation
1:00 Rosary and open visitation

Quentin's funeral home
4323 W. Pipeline Rd
Euless, TX

2:00 Memorial mass

St. Michael Catholic Church
3713 Harwood Rd
Bedford, TX 76021

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Please be in prayer

I found out just a few hours ago that my mother passed away this morning. It was very unexpected. We were planning on going up to Fort Worth tomorrow for Caleb's birthday party on Saturday. We are now trying to compose ourselves and pack what we need for a much different type of trip.
For those of you who were planning on attending the party, we have decided to go ahead and celebrate Caleb's birthday, I think that is what she would have wanted.

In memory

Carol Schnaithman-Parnian

March 31, 1951-April 10, 2008

Help This Family Win a Scholarship

This family attends our church. The letter below is from the father of the family.

Howdy Friends & Family --

Our family has entered a $25,000 nationwide UPromise college scholarship contest in which you submit a 30 second video (no more than 5 MB in size) explaining why you'd like $25K towards college. We made a cute parody of "The Brady Bunch" and all nine of our kids fill up the nine squares! You have to watch it a few times, because the kids thought of several creative things that happen as our oldest, Nathan and Matthew, sing about why they need the money for college. You can vote for and view our video, "Our College Fund", at:

We received a phone call Friday that our video made it into the Top 10 and now the $25K Grand Prize Winner will be chosen by the voting public! YOU can help us win by voting ONCE PER DAY (if possible) April

1 through April 16. We would be so appreciative if you (and any family or friends you think may enjoy the video and vote) could help us win the scholarship!

I'd like to email you a quick reminder to vote each day.Just let me know if you'd rather not be on the list. If you spread the word and someone else would like to be added to the daily vote reminder list, I can add them if they email me at:

Thank you in advance for any help you can give towards this effort!
And again, please feel free to forward this email to any friends or family
you think may enjoy the video and vote. We may never be able to know
or thank everyone who voted, so please accept our heartfelt THANKS from our
whole family!!

The Lord's Prayer

How precious is that!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I miss you! and a lesson in sausage

I have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to visit any blogs or do any blogging myself. Last week I had to cancel classes 4 days in a row to give an online test to English Language Learners. It was a reading test...think about that. English Language Learners....some of these poor kids just arrived in the United States 2 weeks ago but those wonderful lawmakers down there in Austin (boo-hiss) think that we need to monitor the ELL's progress in reading. I can see their point but don't you think they need to give these poor kiddos at least a semester before asking them to read about 10 passages and answer 65 questions?

This passed weekend my in-laws came to visit and blessed us with their truck. It was a nice trade-off, they took our truck to my brother-in-law because he now has 2 teenagers who are at the driving age. So anyway, I tried a few new recipes that I can't wait to share with you. Friday night we had grilled Mesquite Lime Chicken, red potatoes, corn on the cob, and mixed veggies. For dessert I made Paula Deen's Strawberry Shortcake- it was heavenly! Saturday morning I made an Overnight French Toast with sausage. Which reminds me...why do men act clueless in the kitchen? I had to nurse Abby so I asked Stephen to get the Breakfast Sausage links out of the freezer. First he came in with the box of Slovacek sausage that we bought to put on the grill, "How do you want me to cook this?" So as nicely as I could (his parents were there), I told him I wanted the breakfast sausage. You know, the kind we have all the time. So back he went to the garage and this time he came back with the Italian Sausage. I couldn't believe his brain had turned to mush when his parents arrived. When we bought that sausage at the store, he asked me what it was for and I told him I was going to make Denise's wonderful Pasta Bake.

Okay, maybe I was a little hard on him right? Saturday night the men went to the store. I needed caramels for a recipe. He told me the day before that we still had some leftover caramels but not the 11 oz I needed so he said he'd pick some up. He came home with the little container of apple caramel dip. WHY? Why do their brains turn to mush I ask you? I could understand if he didn't look in the pantry for caramels and show me the bag we had. I gripe but I really do appreciate all the help he gives me in the kitchen.

At home we've been showing the house like crazy and I am busy with the final preparations for Caleb's party this Saturday. I have to make sure we all have clean clothes before we pack TOMORROW. I made the icing for his cake last night. Tonight I have to bake the cakes and tomorrow night I will decorate as much as I can...I have to pack and clean the house. Since we will be out of town and it's Parents' Weekend, our realtor is going to have an Open House.

I am so ready to get into a new house. I want to organize all my scrapbook stuff so I can work on it this summer. I want to organize all the kids' toys and everything that is currently just thrown into the garage.

So I hope to be back to a normal (whatever that is) schedule next week. I just know I am missing lots of great recipes and lots of fun pictures and stories that my bloggity friends are posting.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thank you Lord

Abby's final test result came back today. All clear! While the doctor wants to see her in 2 weeks for another weight check, we have 3 beautiful and healthy blessings from above. Thanks to all of you for your prayers!


Okay, so this is not really a post, but my attempts at keeping up with important dates in April from year to year.
April- Chappel Hill Bluebonnet Festival
10. ann. Mom's passing 2008
11. Ciccy and Cyndi's b-day
14. Amy's b-day;
15. Heather's b-day
16. Uncle Paul's b-day
17. Keli's b-day
19. Hyla's b-day

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Adam & Mommy . This is my first tag.
Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. I don't even KNOW 7 people to tag ... this will be fun :)
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1) I'm half Iranian (ih ron e un)
2) I've known my best friend, Hyla, since Kindergarten
3) I hope to have my own cake/cookie business one day
4) I love NASCAR
5) I've lived in Texas my whole life
6) I spend way too much time reading others' blogs
7) I can't wait until summer break from school

Now I'm tagging:
Heather- Texas Aggies in Florida
Julia-Beata Vita
Elizabeth-Simmons Family

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Abby's visit to the doctor

I have to say when it rains, it pours. Today was just crazy. At work I've been giving an online test to our English Language Learners so I've had to take lunch earlier than usual. Today (at home) we had a showing at the same time I got lunch so I couldn't go home. I met Stephen & the kids & we ran errands. He told me we had another showing at 4:00 which interfered with the time we'd be at the doctor. We also had a showing coming at 4:15.

I went home early so I could make Abby's doctor's appt. Our good friend Bri came over to watch Lauren and Caleb and we promised her we'd be home before the first showing. As we were in the examining room, Stephen's phone rang. It was the realtor who was going to come at 4:00 and he wanted to show the house immediately because he was already in the neighborhood. So we called Bri and she said she'd take the kids outside to play. Then another call came in...another realtor who was just in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by. So that's 3 showings in like 30 minutes.

So the first thing we did was weigh Abby. She is up from 7 lbs 4 oz to 7 lbs 11 oz. We are so pleased with those numbers. Then the doctor came in and explained that the 2nd urinalysis had some bacteria growth. It could have been a contaminate from Abby's body but he didn't like taking a chance that she has a kidney infection or UTI. He told us our choices were to catheterize again and hope the sample was clean, check her in to the hospital for a sonogram and a dye injection into her kidney, or to do nothing at all (which he didn't recommend). Stephen and I asked him a lot of questions and decided to attempt the catheter again. We couldn't justify going to the hospital when no one is even sure if that is the true problem. One of the factors that put us at ease was that Abby had a full belly and was pretty content. Dr. H also told us that if there is pain, she will not remember it and it will be insignificant compared to what she'll have to go through at the hospital. They called in the nurse who has a reputation of being great at inserting catheters. Abby cried at first. It seemed like a long time but in actuality it was probably only a minute. The nurse got it in and Abby quickly released enough of a sample to be tested. Within 5 minutes the 1st test came back crystal clear. Now we have to wait until Friday to find out if the culture grows anything. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Just a few more days and hopefully all of this will be over.

As we arrived home, we saw a realtor's car in the driveway so we parked next door and headed to the backyard. At the same time, another realtor pulled up, saw the other realtor's car, and went to another house that is for sale. The realtor and his clients who were in our house were on the back porch. They were pretty understanding of the babysitter being home with the kids. Shortly after they went in, the other realtor came out back. It was just crazy! I just wanted to go inside and relax. So 4 showings today and already one scheduled for Friday. I just want to sell this house and get into a 4 bedroom so we can get the kids' toys out again and so we can assemble Abby's crib and put all her cute things out. Right now she is in a bassinet in our room and all her clothes are in our closet.

So thanks to all of you for your comments and prayers. It comforts me to know that when I am too busy to pray, someone else is praying on my behalf.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What did you say?

At lunch today Lauren said, This is good sex!

Did I hear her correctly? I asked her what was good and she said, "Sex."

It was very clear and had me worried but as I turned around to look at her, I remembered that she was eating Chex! Yes Baby, good sex. Whew!

Please vote for this family

There is a family of 11 at our church who entered a contest to win a $25,000 scholarship. They are in the top 10 and need more votes. All you have to do to help is go to the link and vote for them. You can vote once a day. Check out their submission video parody of the Brady Bunch here. Thanks!