Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
And, NO, my kitchen will never be the same again! I am pretty sure we will be picking up sprinkles well into the hot summer months!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Time for another recipe with my favorite ingredient! And, because I know so many of you are always on the edge of your seat waiting for these recipes (do you hear the sarcasm in my voice?), I should let you know that the next 2 Fridays will most likely be recipe free. We will be doing some light blogging, but I will probably be up to my elbows in sugar cookies and ham. Not at the same time, mind you!
Zesty Skillet Chicken
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or just add garlic powder to you liking)
1 Tbsp. oil
1 can Del Monte Zesty Diced Tomatoes with Mild Green Chilies
1 can Golden Sweet Corn, drained
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
1. Cook chicken, onions, and garlic in oil over medium high heat 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
2. Add tomatoes and corn; simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is gone. Sprinkle with cheese; heat until melted. Serve with rice.
We have been on Christmas break for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Both of the boys have already cried, the house is trashed, Sweet Pea has turned into the bossiest 2 year old around, and I have had to answer the question, "Can we play the Wii?" more times than I can count. I'd say we are off to a pretty good start...
I can do this for 2 weeks, right? RIGHT?!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sweet Pea has been quite the talker all her 2.5 years, but she is now using more and more English. She has been more fun to listen to lately. The other day she was siting in the car and announced, "I not five, I two." I have no clue where that came from. We were not talking about her age at any point.
MNB was at school teaching library today while I was home with Sweet Pea and she at one point told me she was hungry. I said o.k., just a minute and I will get you something. It was probably two minutes later and she looked up at me and said, "I not hungry, I Sweet Pea." It is fun watching those little wheels turn up there in her head.
Bruiser got into the van today with some presents for MNB and I for Christmas. They were all wrapped up and looking good. He asked if I was going to open it right then. I said no, we would put them under the tree and unwrap them on Christmas. He said we would be really sad if we waited for Christmas. When we got home, MNB and I went ahead and unwrapped them figuring they were ornaments or something. One was an ornament and one was a calendar. Bruiser was so excited as we were opening them. He could barely contain himself. He was beaming with pride as we told him how we loved his gifts. In this case it was better to receive than to give.
It is so fun seeing the world through our kids' eyes!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Favorite Christmas Cookie?
Mrs.--This one is a tough one. I have a sweet tooth and, well, I just happen to love all Christmas cookies. I make Scotch-A-Roos that I am famous for, but they aren't my favorite. I love my sugar cookies with icing and crushed candy canes on top. They are so simple and I love them this time of the year.
NB--I love the sugar cookies with crushed candy cane also, but I am going to have to go back to mama's cookin' for my favorite. She makes a cookie that is a mini pecan pie. It is ooey, gooey and oh, so good. I am not sure if it is a Christmas cookie, but she only makes them at Christmas time.
Favorite Place To Be On Christmas?
Mrs.--As a child, it would have been my grandparent's house in Omaha, Nebraska. Ah, the memories. As an adult, I honestly love being in our own home. The kids can rip into everything and play all day without me worrying if we are missing important pieces to every new toy that has been freshly removed from it's package. We host Christmas and my family comes to us. It is exhausting and wonderful all at the same time.
NB--Any where but here. I agree that it is nice to not have to worry about the great toy relocation project, but it is more relaxing when I am not watching my own home get destroyed. I am happy to help out, but I also like leaving. You actually have more control at someone else's house, because you can leave whenever you want. I am also more likely to get a nap in at someone else's house. The wife's nap radar is very sensitive at home, and she hates it when I enter into the perfect bliss of a nap. As soon as my body achieves that perfect relaxation, and my mind starts to slip into unconsciousness...BRAD! I awake to my wife's soothing and loving voice. I hold nothing against her since she is always working very hard and deserves the help. That is why I would like to spend Christmas at your house. It all about the nap. (By the way I'm not sure why my wife would say Brad. It's not like I would compromise my tight veil of blog security by revealing my real name.)
Favorite Christmas Memory?
Mrs.--Wow! This one is tough! I am going to say the year that Nurse Boy proposed. It wasn't a romantic proposal. (Do you even KNOW Nurse Boy? Romance is NOT his middle name. FUN, yes. ROMANTIC, not so much.) It was just a special year. We knew then that we were really in this thing called life together. Oh, but then there was the Christmas right after Dimples was born. I loved that time after we officially had a family and started planning all of the traditions we wanted to begin with our own family. I really don't have a great answer for this one...
NB--As a kid, my favorite Christmas memory was the year my Dad was going to have to go to Beirut, Lebanon to consult. He was in the Army. He was not going to fight, just to plan apparently. He was gone for Christmas. Just before he went, he took the family to Brown County State Park in Indiana. We stayed in a cabin and played games. That was when my dad taught me how to play Euchre. (The greatest card came ever!) We exchanged gifts and I got my first boom box. I was either in third or fourth grade. My parents worked hard to make that Christmas special and it was. As an adult, it was when I went to my wife's Grandparent's house for Christmas. It was before her grandfather was too far down the path of Alzheimer's. It was a privilege to be there and get a glimpse of my wife's childhood. I got to experience her memories and I loved it. It was in Omaha and it snowed a lot. I love the snow and love it when winter is winter. She won't let me talk her into moving up north, though.
Mrs.--Have I mentioned that I hate winter?
Favorite Christmas Movie?
Mrs.--Hands down, A Christmas Story. You know the one..."You'll shoot your eye out!" I still laugh when I watch that movie!
NB--The Mrs. may have stolen my thunder, but I can't say the same thing. I am going to pick Elf, because anytime you can have your main character chug a 2 liter of soda, let out a belch louder than a sonic boom, and then ask, "Did you hear that?" Well, you have my vote for best movie.
Favorite Christmas Song?
Mrs.--Well, of course it has to be O Holy Night. Makes me cry every time. But, just to mix things up a little bit...growing up we had The Muppet's Christmas Album with John Denver. Can you believe that it was a record that we played on a turn table? (Yes, I am that old. Just ask my kids.) I still love that album. It makes me think of Christmas growing up. They do a 12 days of Christmas that puts everyone else to shame. I found this album on CD the first year we were married and I snatched it up right away. There's just something about that Miss Piggy's singing...though, I don't think anyone else in my family agrees.
NB--As far as the song that makes my neck hair stand up the most, it is "O Holy Night". I love that song. I also really like the "Christmas Canon" by Transiberian Orchestra and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" by Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan. Those songs made my i-pod. I like to mention my i-pod a lot since it is the most hip thing about me. It is almost as hip as my before mentioned boom box back in 1985.
So, hopefully you are all still awake. We hope this got you thinking about all of your favorite things this time of year. Hey, if you want to join us in listing your favorites, leave a comment! Even better, blog about your favorites and leave us a comment telling us you did so. We want to read all about your Christmas favorites too!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Fresh or Fake Tree?
Mrs.--I have NEVER had a fresh tree. NEVER. And, I don't feel like I am missing a thing. Maybe that is because I have never had a real tree. However, fake trees are pretty, don't need to be fed or watered, are simple to put up and tear down, and ours is even pre-lit. How is that for saving time, money, and my sanity? The family wins when mom has her sanity!
NB-- I grew up with a real tree every year. I remember loving the smell, but hating to water it. I was the youngest, so it was my job to tunnel through the presents and under the tree to water it. I can see the fun of the family trip to select the tree every year, but I am glad to not have my tree turn brown and lose all its needles either. I have deferred to the Mrs. on this one.
Mrs.--I love all of our ornaments that are personalized. My favorite is one that has 5 frogs on it. Each frog has one of our names on it. I bought it for Nurse Boy our first Christmas with Sweet Pea. Why frogs? Our wedding invitation had frogs on it. It was a fun wedding invitation and we decided we wanted to be unique. Honestly, I think most of the relatives hated it. We loved it. So, frogs always make us think of our silly wedding invitation.NB--My family grew up as Treckies. I have seen every adventure that Captain Kirk and Spock have been on. The Mrs. thinks my affinity for Star Trek is illogical. The Mrs.'s Grandmother gave me a light up Star Trek ship one Christmas. It is not the original Enterprise, I think it is a ship from Deep Space Nine, but that woman got me. I miss her.
Mrs.--I hate that ornament.
Mrs.--Growing up, my Dad's side of the family spent the night at my grandparent's house on Christmas Eve. All of us kids got up before the light of day to see what Santa brought. We were like sardines with all 13 of us in the house, but I loved it. Now, I love taking the kids to look at Christmas lights while they are in their pj's.
NB--We don't do Santa because of three reasons. #1 The Mrs. felt lied to when she found out Santa was not real. #2 I feel no particular sentiment toward Santa. I remember finding out Santa was not real and asking if we still get presents on Christmas Day. When the answer was yes, I did not care. So, I don't feel like my kids are missing anything. #3 The Mrs. and I grew up knowing the Christmas Story, but it was not the main part of Christmas. We wanted to make that the main part of Christmas, so Santa got the boot. It was a big black one. With that said, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus every Christmas Eve and eat chow mien. We then put the kids to bed and play with, I mean put together, all of their new toys. We end the night with me dominating all the family in some card game. They have started playing Uno all the time because, frankly, I am an obnoxious winner. I hate Uno because there is no skill involved. I think I am going to start cheating so it will be fun. For me. Not them. I'm getting excited thinking about it.
Mrs.-- Nurse Boy stinks at UNO ;0)
Favorite Gift Ever?Mrs.--I never have a good answer for this one. I love gifts, so I am just usually thankful for receiving them. (Especially sparkly, clear rocks. Big ones. Hint, hint.) As a kid though, it had to be the year my grandparents gave me the Barbie Dream House. It was huge and spectacular! It also helped that all of my friends drooled over it...
NB--My favorite gift as a kid was Optomis Prime. I was in fifth grade and really excited about my gifts. We decided that we would open one gift on Christmas Eve. My mom was trying to get me to open OP and they accidentally had me open some wind up diver that was a bath toy. I didn't even take baths anymore. I don't know what they were thinking. I don't think my mom knew what they were thinking either when I opened it up, so she had me open another present. Long story short, my sister and I opened all of our presents on Christmas Eve that year. We loved it. I loved my OP so much I don't think I broke him for at least two days. From that year on, we got to open at least one gift on Christmas Eve.
Favorite Christmas Meal?
Mrs.--It has to be HAM. I love ham on Christmas. Growing up we always had turkey. Now that I host Christmas, I demand ham.
NB--Ham! Honey baked. The Mrs. gets a cheaper Aldi version that is only slightly less tasty than the HB kind and I love it.So, come back tomorrow for the rest of our favorites. We know you are on the edge of your seat...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Time for some random thoughts...
**Yesterday, it was 62 degrees when we piled into the car at 9:00 AM to drive to church for the Christmas program. The evening ended with a freezing rain/snow mix and temps in the teens. This morning it was 3 degrees. 3! Have I mentioned how much I hate winter? That is just mean!
**My nine year old likes his football. Yesterday, he was watching one game on TV while tracking another one on the Internet. All. By. Himself. He is only nine. I, of course, hate football and cannot believe he is my son. Nurse Boy is so proud. My Dad said he always thought Dimples was going to be a pastor but he now thinks he might be a bookie when he grows up. I was hoping for something a little more, well, respectable.
**I still do not have my Christmas cards finished. This is the latest I have ever drawn this project out. My dining room table is in a very sorry state.
**I sent Nurse Boy to the store this weekend. With a very long list. He took about twice as long as I would have and he took a nap afterwards. I have to do this kind of stuff to him every now and again in hopes that he will appreciate all that I do around here. And, why I always seem to return from the store in a mood that does not fit well with the holiday spirit. There is nothing merry or jolly about the grocery store this time of year. I don't care how loud you pipe that Christmas music over the loud speakers. I want to be sitting by my Christmas tree and sipping hot chocolate while listening to "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas...," not in aisle 7 with the lady that has no control over her 14 kids that are fighting over who gets to pick out the cereal for the next week.
**My two year old has learned the phrase, "I do it!" But, you see, that would be great if she actually did things all by herself when it would be helpful. Like when I am cooking dinner. Or, maybe sneaking in an adult conversation on the phone. Or, scrubbing the toilets. Oh, no! She can't do anything by herself then. She screams, "I do it!" to me in the mornings. When we have to get the boys to school. On time. And, none of us are really morning people. Sweet Pea takes FOREVER to get dressed on her own. I can get her dressed in one minute flat. Mornings are really turning out to be a lot of fun around here! Nurse Boy is thrilled that his is out of here well before the light of day. If he isn't, he should be...
Time to finish those cards...AGAIN...
Friday, December 12, 2008
You will all be happy to know that Nurse Boy is getting the color back in his cheeks and has even been crossing a thing or two off of his Honey-Do list. He has returned to the land of the living! Oh, he is not 100%, but I no longer want to shoot lasers out of my eyes when I see his sorry self wrapped up in a blanket moaning on the couch. He is functioning again!
Yesterday Nurse Boy even went shopping with me while my Dad watched Sweet Pea. (However, I think Sweet Pea may have watched Papa. She kind of runs the show when he is around. He once told me that he doesn't want to say "no" to the kids unless he has to. They all have their Papa right where they want him. He knows it and so do they.) Nurse Boy shopped with me without whining, moaning, groaning, asking what time it is, asking how many more items I need, or even asking where the bathroom is in every store. Yes, my kids do those things, but they have learned from the PRO. No one could be worse than Nurse Boy at the store. But, yesterday he took me out to lunch and then the marathon shopping began. With all smiles. He didn't even mutter about the money we spent. It was very impressive, I tell you. I felt so loved!
So, it is Friday and I do have some chicken in the freezer. Want to know what's for dinner? I love this recipe. It is simple and easy. Are we seeing a theme on Fridays?
Simple. Easy. Chicken.
This recipe was given to me by a very sweet coworker (and awesome 1st grade teacher) when I got married. Thanks Mary! This is one recipe that I have hung on to.
Golden Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 1/2 oz. can golden mushroom soup1/2 cup milk
garlic and onion powder
3/4 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1.) Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish and arrange breasts.
2.) Combine soup and milk. Pour over chicken.
3.) Sprinkle with garlic and onion powders to taste.
4.) Cover with cracker crumbs and dot with butter.
5.) Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Delicious! Believe it or not, this one is a hit in my home. Yes, some of the little ones scrape off the "topping," but they all eat it. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The Mrs. and I got married in January of 1997. We started dating our last month of high school and continued through college. I was slightly slow, so we had been dating for 4.5 years when we got married. You add on the almost whole first year of marriage you would think that I knew my wife before our first Christmas together. As I am sure you can imagine, I found out I did not.
We went out and bought our first Christmas tree and it was time to decorate. We did not have very many ornaments that had meaning. At this time we only had my wife's childhood ornaments and the mass produced ones that came in packs of twelve. So, my wife introduces me to our new tradition.
"We should buy each other an ornament every year for Christmas."
I thought, that is stupid. Why on God's green earth would I want an ornament every year for Christmas? I said,"O.K.".
She mentioned it more that 10 times, so I knew that I had to get her an ornament. I honestly did not know where to get this ornament. I did not think that real people spent 12 bucks at Hallmark on one ornament. There was a bargain seasonal store near our apartment at the time, so I went there on Christmas Eve. It was sort of the dollar store for Christmas. It looked like someone had just barfed Christmas in there. I had no clue where to go. I found a pair of ornaments that were angels and I thought they looked nice, so I dropped my 99 cents and was out of there. I put them in a box and wrapped them up.
When the Mrs. opened them, she literally cried.
They were not tears of joy.
I found out the angels were not just plastic ornaments, but they were light covers. To me that was a bonus. Not to the Mrs.
Apparently, I should have gone to Hallmark. I am not a sentimental person. I don't get sentiment. I do get tears, tearing of robes, and gnashing of teeth, though. I would like to say that I learned and got her a great ornament the next year, but it took me about eight years to understand what she meant.
We still hang those "light covers" on the tree every year. Now we laugh every time we look at them. So, I actually bought us memories all those years ago! Who knew?!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Nurse Boy came home last night thinking he was on his death bed. Are you feeling me, ladies? You know the look: watery eyes, a red nose, and ugly red sweats. No, I am not talking about jolly old Saint Nick. Oh. No. I. Am. Not. Nothing jolly about this miserable man.
He kept mumbling something about a sore throat, a runny nose, and all of his aches and pains. Wades of Kleenex surrounded him. He plopped himself down on the couch, where I served him his dinner. After he filled his belly, he rolled over and went to sleep. At 7PM. While the kids ran circles around the couch for the rest of the night. While I cleaned the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, bathed the kids, read to the kids, made lunches, packed snacks for the kindergarten class, and laid everyone down. Only to come downstairs to put Nurse Boy to bed and work on the dreaded Christmas cards that won't stamp, address, and mail themselves.
I am not heartless. I KNOW Nurse Boy feels awful. But, he has a COLD. He WILL live. Why does he think it is the end when he gets sick once a year? He never gets sick, but when he does...HOLD ON. Me, on the other hand, I seem to get whatever the kids bring home with them. Nursing them back to health doesn't always pay off for me. And, when I am sick it seems the sympathy well has dried up. (So, I am being a little dramatic. I AM a woman, what do you expect? Plus, you haven't seen nothing yet until you have been in our home with a sick Nurse Boy.)
The worst part about MOM getting sick? SHE still has to work. SHE has to clean, do laundry, pack lunches, plan meals, cook dinner, etc. SHE doesn't get to call in sick, EVER. And, by "SHE," I of course mean ME.
In all fairness, Nurse Boy tossed and turned all night long. He then got up and went to work. I guess that says something about his work ethic. Or, maybe his desire to contaminate the rest of the hospital. I am expecting him home early. In bed with a box of Kleenex. With a bell or cell phone by his side to contact the catering service in our home when he has a need.
I will be a good wife tonight. Maybe again tomorrow. Please, Lord, let this past quickly. It will be for the best for our marriage and my sanity.
I do love you, Nurse Boy. I just didn't know EXACTLY what I was committing to when I said, "in SICKNESS and in health." In all fairness, you men do give that phrase a whole new meaning! Where was that little tidbit of information in our premarital counseling?
Monday, December 8, 2008
Ready for some randomness?
**We barely survived the chaos of last week. After many late nights, sore throats, runny noses, and lots of tears I can honestly say I am ready to tackle a new week. And, since I was battling some major PMS all last week and self medicating with lots of chocolate, you can bet that was me with the tears. Lots of them. Poor Nurse Boy. No wonder he doesn't want to pay for all of my waxing. Maybe he wants to apply that money to some other professional help for me. I can really be a bear at times. But, thankfully, not a hairy bear!
**It is my opinion that if you leave your Christmas lights up on your house ALL YEAR LONG, you should at least turn them on during the Christmas season. If I have to look at your lifeless icicle lights in 100 degree heat, you can at least light up the cold, dark nights with them during the winter.
**Whose idea was it to randomly wrap Christmas lights around the trunk of a tree? Don't get me wrong, I am all about the net lights you can throw on your bushes. Those are easy to put up in the bitter cold. They are even easier to take down in the bitter cold. But, to just wrap a string of lights around a tree trunk and call them Christmas lights is something I just don't get.
**Why do I always stress about our Christmas cards? Why? I always spend too much time on them and am disappointed with the end result. This year I am stamping 80 of them. I think I have a screw loose.
**Do you know how many housewives it takes to change a light bulb? Me neither. I think it is starting to drive my kids crazy that somethings in my house just have to wait until Dad comes home. Light bulbs and batteries are on my list. Not for any real reason. Just lazy, I guess. It gives Nurse Boy something to look forward to when he comes home.
**I am thinking about taking Nurse Boy to the salon for some eyebrow waxing. I am smiling just typing this. I am totally serious. I want him to experience what I go through. I have seen some men getting their brows waxed. He won't die. But, I do promise to bring the camera...to post pictures later! Later on we could work on highlights, low lights, and some spiky hair. I would love to watch him squirm in front of Stacey and Clint on What Not to Wear. We could toss those hoodies for good!
Time to get to back work on the Christmas cards...
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The Mrs. revealed to me how much she spends on her haircuts now. That is a lot of money and she doesn't just get her hair cut. She highlights and low lights it. That is a separate trip and a lot more than a cut. She also just started getting her eyebrows waxed. Yes, she pays someone to yank hair out by the root. Apparently, once you wax, you don't go bacx. And, no I won't start to wax my back no matter how much she begs. But wait, that is not all. She explained to me that normal shampoo and conditioner somehow don't work in her hair. Apparently the FDA, or whoever the governing body for cosmetics is, does not know what they are talking about when they approved those regularly priced shampoos. She can't get her make up there either. Not good enough.
So when I hear all of this, I can't help but to wonder this one question.
When did I become her sugar daddy?
Friday, December 5, 2008
So, I am taking a break from my online shopping to help you all out for dinner tonight. I am doing a lot more online shopping this year and I am so afraid it is going to bite me in the butt. I mean, what if there aren't any presents under the tree on Christmas morning? Do I just say, "Your presents will be here in the next 5 to 10 business days. Merry Christmas!" Or, do I wrap up pictures of their future gift to be? The biggest problem is that I am too cheap to pay for any upgrades when it comes to shipping. I think that is all a big crock and I am going to keep my money.
And the underside of my tree bare.
Maybe not...time will tell.
So, it is cold outside and we are all much too busy to spend endless hours on dinner (like I ever have). Today I am sharing one of my favorite chili recipes. It is simple, easy, and has my favorite ingredient...chicken! This is mild, so add kick if you like.
Quick Chicken Chili
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, diced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 pkg. (1.25 oz.) chili seasoning mix
1 can (15.25 oz.) whole kernel golden sweet corn
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1. Combine chicken, undrained tomatoes and seasoning mix in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until chicken is done.
2. Add undrained corn and drained beans; simmer 5 minutes or until heated through.
Make some corn bread and enjoy!
I won't lie and tell you that my kids will even let this stuff touch their plates, much less their lips. They think all chili is evil. Nurse Boy and I love it and we don't have to share.
Now, back to shopping without the crowds...
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
So, just out of curiosity, I decided to do a little detective work. OK, so it was nap time and I didn't feel like doing the laundry or the dishes. They're not going anywhere, right? (On second thought, I should have taken a nap!) I decided to see what people google that lands them on my blog. It is scary stuff, people!
Why, yes! I do get my hair cut in a real salon, thankyouverymuch. But, I don't think this blog was quite what they were looking for...
picture of jelly substance in feces
Yes, you read that right. Nurse Boy is proud in a very weird way, being a GI nurse and all.
how to sew buttons on a couch
OK, so you all probably know by now that I don't sew. Not even buttons. And, I would never touch a couch. Too valuable.
poop shut up jokes
OK, I KNOW that we didn't blog about those. Those are told at the dinner table while Nurse Boy and I shoot stern looks at the boys and act like we would never laugh at such immature things. We save the laughter for when they are in bed.
poop pull up
Yes, we have dealt with our fair share of poop in pull ups. Let me take this opportunity to tell you that Sweet Pea is POTTY TRAINED!!!!! It is official...we are finished with diapers forever! We really should throw a party and celebrate. We have been dealing with diapers for almost 9 years. Please, DO NOT do the math and tell me how much money we threw away or just how full the landfills are because of my three children and their Huggies that will live on longer than all of us. Please, just CELEBRATE with us!
"out of gas"
Yep, that is me most days.
male nurse birthday cake
Really? That is one weird birthday cake. Maybe THAT should be Bubby's assignment for the next birthday cake.
Kind of makes you wonder why you read this blog, doesn't it? I think it is because you have dishes and laundry to avoid as well!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Are you ready for a shallow post?
I made a discovery that I think everyone should know about. I discovered Chex Mix Select in, get this, DARK CHOCOLATE! Beware! This stuff is very addictive. And, you may not want to share. I hid my bag. Oh, yes I did. Those kids would have devoured it before they even knew what they were eating.
OK, so I know what you are thinking. It is holiday time. I don't need another thing to snack on. But, look at this:
So, my photography skills are lacking. With all of the technology we have today, you would think I could get my camera to focus. But, you would be wrong.
It says 60% less fat. In smaller letters under that it says, "than regular potato chips." Drat! I don't even eat potato chips. At least not on a regular basis. So, I am really not saving any fat. Just adding, I'm sure.
I just love that they are acting like this stuff could have anything remotely healthy about it. However, it will be healthy if everyone around here just leaves my bag alone! Give the woman her bag of dark chocolate goodness and no one will get hurt!
Monday, December 1, 2008
So, it has taken me all day to post this...because it IS Monday. And, not just any Monday. The Monday after Thanksgiving. This is when we want to sit down and relax. However, this is when the festivities have only just begun. Yikes! This is often a time of much excitement and, well, STRESS!
So, I shall reflect on the last week.
**The boys had a little Thanksgiving program at school last week. Dimples has always been a ham. We noticed this trait around 4 weeks. No joke! Bruiser definitely hams it up one on one, but I had NO IDEA he was fearless in front of an audience. He had me in stitches as he proudly, and loudly, sang his songs and recited his poems. And, yes, I forgot the camera. Figures.
**I have always HATED stuffing with a passion. (Hey, were you expecting this to flow or something? It is titled "Random" for a reason. Stay with me.) Nothing that resembles a bucket of vomit should ever be placed on the table. Stuffing is dry, bland, and has mysterious things smashed together. However, my mother has been on a quest to make stuffing that I would like for many years. I really don't know why she bothered, but she did it! Her stuffing is amazing. It is moist, a little sweet, and she even puts the onions in the blender for me before placing them in the stuffing. I know, it sounds like I am twelve. I have always hated the texture of onions. Crunching into them is g-r-o-s-s. The flavor isn't so bad. The crunch is awful. My mom has perfected stuffing. It is even wonderful without the gravy.
**Why do mashed potatoes and gravy taste so good on Thanksgiving? Honestly, on any other day, I could take them or leave them. But, on Thanksgiving, they melt in my mouth.
**My grandmother taught me how to make a homemade apple pie when I was a young teen. Every year after that, I made the apple pies on Thanksgiving and Christmas. She acted like she was passing down a privilege that required much talent. Hindsight, she wanted someone else to make the apple pies. I took the bait and am still making the apple pies. I pride myself in the large quantities of cinnamon and sugar mixed with butter and apple goodness. No recipe, just the right amount of everything. OK, so I have been known to place a few questionable pies on the table. My biggest fans are my husband and my father. They will devourer whatever apple pie I place before them. You see, they are fans of the cinnamon. Martha Stewart thinks she is living on the edge when see puts TWO TABLESPOONS of cinnamon in her apple pie. All I am saying is she ain't seen nothing yet! Truth be told, I can't wait to teach all of my children the art of making the perfect apple pie. Not that I hit perfect every year. Wait a minute, yes I do. Just ask my husband and my father.
**Lastly, why must my children ask for dinner on the night of Thanksgiving?! Do they not know that the Thanksgiving meal in the afternoon is the ONLY meal served that day. You are to eat until you need to unbutton your pants. Then have some apple pie. With ice cream. And, DO NOT ask to eat another thing until Saturday morning. I honestly thought I was going to be sick while I pondered what I was going to fix them for "dinner." OK, so maybe the kids are the ones who have it right. After all, they can all still button their pants.
OK, so I did it. I actually got today's post in. We have something going on EVERY night this week for the next 6 days. I love the excitement, but I don't want to be this busy! So, here's hoping we all survive the craziness of this week and find sometime to enjoy being together!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We are sorry that we still have leaves on our lawn. We know that we often wait too long between mows. We know that the leaves fall every autumn and, yet, it is always a surprise to us and we often take too much time to rake them up. You see, we do a good job of keeping the inside of our house clean because it is Mrs. Nurse Boy's domain. We do a poor job of keeping the outside of our house clean because it is Mr. Nurse Boy's domain. Mr. Nurse Boy hates to do yard work. It is not so bad once he gets started, but it is hard to get him started.
How does Mr. Nurse Boy know that it irritates you, poor neighbors?
Because when you rake, you rake a perfect line at the property line. I couldn't draw such a straight line on paper with a ruler. I think you use a laser line or something. When I do the leaves, I rake the bulky stuff, then mulch the rest with my mower. I tend to stray over the property line a few feet.
Oh, and those times when a stick from our tree falls in your yard, thanks for throwing it back in my yard. I've seen that a couple of times. Maybe I should try to charge you for the energy saving you get from my tree from the shade in the summer. Oh, I digress.
Maybe it is the stubbornness in me, but it makes me want to wait until we have had a day of high winds blowing in your direction before I will mow again. Today I was planning on raking/mowing, but there is a rain snow mix going on out there, so I figured I would blog instead.
As long as I am apologizing, I would like to apologize to the neighbors across the street. I am sorry that we annoy you by saying hello and waving every now and then. I know that it is annoying to see people try to be friendly. Please, keep ignoring us when we display such terrible behavior.
To the neighbors behind us, I am sorry that my kids play with balls. You see they are boys, and balls are fascinating to them. I am sorry that when a ball goes over the fence they climb the fence to retrieve it. We have instructed them to let the ball lay if it goes over the fence, but sometimes they really want to continue with their game and they try to sneak over the fence to get it. Please, keep reminding them they annoy you by banging on the kitchen window and screaming when they do it. That is very helpful. It makes us want to encourage our boys to mow your yard when you get too old to do so. I don't think that will be long. It will probably happen right when they are prime mowing ages.
To the neighbors on the other side, I am sorry that my roof damaged your tree when it blew over on it. Thank you for not offering to do anything when this happened. Thank you for telling us how you make a lot of money. It may not have been good timing to mention this during the same conversation that you told us your insurance company said you legally were not liable for anything. I am sorry for feeling like maybe you should have been concerned. It was a nice touch though when you came over to ask the name of our roofer, when you needed to get some roof work done. Well played.
Mrs. Nurse Boy and I have mentioned this before, but if every one of your neighbors are weird, does that make you the weird one? We seem to function well in society, but that is a matter of opinion, I suppose.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Time for another Friday Fare! After you finish all of your holiday shopping on this fine Black Friday and are sick and tired of leftover turkey, you just might want to try my next easy recipe.
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. ginger (I do not use fresh. C'mon, I have three kids. Who has time?!)
10 chicken drumsticks (I like to also use thighs to mix it up a little.)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking pan with foil or nonstick spray. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss chicken to coat. Place on pan and bake 30 minutes.
This stuff is great and is a hit in my home! It is also FABULOUS on the grill.
We are heading out to the movies later on. I'll let you all have the bargains today. I am choosing my sanity!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We just want to wish everyone a
We are thankful for so much this year. But, let us simplify our list:
We are so blessed!Here's hoping you take time to count all of your blessings! And, that they are too numerous to count!
Now, let's eat some turkey...
Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.
The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.
Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration that has been hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it's a turkey.
We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.
As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming or that the tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.
Now I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning this: Do not, under any circumstances enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.
Oh before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie. Garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will have a choice. Take it or leave it.
Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. Come to think of it, she probably won't make it next year either. I am thankful!
OK, so you may have already seen this going around. Isn't it GREAT?! Sometimes we need a good laugh as we enter this crazy season. Fun, but crazy, season!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Here is my first edition of Monday's Random Musings. On Mondays I struggle to put together coherent thoughts. I think it is because the house is a mess and the laundry is always piled high from the weekend. So, I thought it would be a great excuse to put together something random every Monday. It was either that or not blog. Come on, you know you wanted me to blog, right? Don't answer that.
This Monday I actually have a theme to my randomness. Or, is it a method to my madness? Whatever it is, stay with me.
We have three birthdays in November. Yes, THREE. Then add Thanksgiving. We are broke every year before we even hit December. This weekend we celebrated both Dimples and Bruiser's birthdays with the family. Here are some random thoughts regarding the celebration:
** Every year the boys request a certain type of cake to be made by their beloved Bubby. Nurse Boy and I always try to get the boys to request something next to impossible for her to make. We like to watch her sweat. She prides herself in her state of the art cakes for her grandchildren. Truth be told, it has created wonderful memories. Not to mention, it has freed up a lot of my time. This year they asked for an Indianapolis Colts cake. They LOVED the end result! Next year, Nurse Boy and I think they should ask for a Millennium Falcon cake! (Think Star Wars, for those of you not in the "know.") That should make her sweat...
** Dimples ended up with lots of Star Wars stuff. That George Lucas is a genius. He has managed to make fans out of yet another generation. I remember my brother playing with the very same stuff. It seems like only yesterday he was Luke Skywalker defending himself against the dark side. Oh, wait... that WAS yesterday. Dimples had to pry the toys out of his uncle's hands repeatedly this weekend.
** Bruiser ended up with Batman toys. I have spent the last 48 hours listening to imaginary sounds of bombs, punching, flying, and evil, bad guy voices coming from my 6 year old. I can't wait for My Little Pony and Barbies! Are girls really that noisy? Maybe it is just the lack of violence that makes them seem more quiet while they brush hair and pretend to keep house.
** We don't have anymore room for toys, so I am trying to convince the boys that they don't need any Christmas presents. It isn't working.
** Sweet Pea got so overwhelmed while the boys unwrapped one boy toy after another that she started setting up a tea party in the middle of the bat winged/dark side festivities.
** Lastly, I am not sure if I will ever get the blue icing off of anything it touched this weekend. Thanks, Bubby! I think Sweet Pea still has blue highlights in her hair. We won't even discuss my laundry...
Happy Birthday, Dimples and Bruiser!! You are both a gift from God and a blessing to all of us! You bring joy to my life each and every day!!!
Friday, November 21, 2008
So, here it is! My first Friday Fare. I really do hope this helps someone, anyone, who might be stuck in a rut. I've been there. What am I talking about? I don't even know what we are having for dinner TONIGHT. I am there!
Let me start off by saying that I will be sharing our favorite chicken recipes each Friday. These are recipes that I have made MILLIONS of times (or so it seems). However, these are not necessarily items that are requested by anyone under the age of 10 in our home. They do eat it. Most of the time. And, sometimes, without tears or gaging.
The thing most requested around here is to eat OUT. Aren't they sweet? I love them. I really do. Just not at mealtime.
My children think a chicken nugget is heaven on a plate. I do not. However, I DO have a chicken tender recipe that is much healthier than the ones that are deep fried and served via drive thru. They have decided they can stomach that recipe, but nothing compares to the golden arches. Grrr...
So, today I will start off with a staple recipe here in the Nurse Boy family. It is simple, easy, tasty, and something that can be adapted to your family's preferences. I should also say that we are all wimps when it comes to hot and spicy. We are a mild kind of family. You can add all the kick you want, you just won't find it in my recipes.
Chicken Soft Tacos
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup thick-n-chunky salsa (I use mild.)
1 pkg (1 1/4 oz.) taco seasoning mix
2 cups minute rice, uncooked (I use brown rice)
flour tortillas (I use 6 to 8 inch)
**optional: I add a can of rinsed black beans at the very end. (Beans are like sponges when it comes to cholesterol, so we try to put them in as much stuff as we can. We have found black beans to be our favorite.)
1. Heat chicken in a skillet until lightly browned. (Use a little oil, if you like. I like to sprinkle some chili powder or taco seasoning mix on the chicken while it is cooking to give it flavor.)
2. Add 2 cups water, salsa, and seasoning mix; stir. Bring to a boil.
3. Stir in rice, cover. Cook on low heat 5 minutes (a little longer for brown rice). (I add the black beans after this step.)
All finished! Place mixture in tortillas. Top with cheese and sour cream! I have even been known to freeze the left over mixture and use it again later on in the month. I reheat it on the stove top and add a little more salsa to it.
This recipe is ranked edible by all in our house. And, that is saying something!
I hope it is a hit at your house. If not, just LOOK AWAY while they gag.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
We have spent numerous Sunday nights taking our kiddos to church to practice for the annual Christmas program. As most of you know, this church is new to us. Rumor has it this program is something to behold. It is very organized and the kids have to practice at home every week.
The boys are having the time of their lives and they can't wait to get on the stage. They know their parts and eagerly practice each week.
Sweet Pea is another story all together.
She is only two and a half, but she has me a little worried. Yes, she does "practice" her song in class every Sunday night. We have been instructed to have them dressed in their Sunday best on the day of the production. Since she is our only girl, you can bet that I will have her in glitter from head to toe. Hey, a girl has to shine! And, I have had my fair share of ties. Handsome... yes. Show stopping...NO.
I digress. I am just a little excited about the holiday dresses.
The other day we were "practicing" her song. She sang NOT ONE WORD. She smiled. She picked her nose. She lifted her dress. She did a little dance, without rhythm of any kind. (She takes after her dad... with her rhythm, I mean.)
It frightens me.
I am afraid that this year it is going to be MY child on the stage that everyone says, "I feel sorry for HER mom. Thank goodness that isn't my child up there."
At least she will look cute, right?!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The other day when we were out in the cold running errands, Bruiser asked me a question. With a very serious face and tone of voice he says,
"Mom, did Satan make cold weather?"
Why, yes, come to think of it, I think he did. He enjoys it when we experience what it is like to be a piece of meat left in the freezer, spend countless hours hunting down matching pairs of mittens and gloves, and waste our money on winter boots that no one wants to wear. He loves to see us wrap up our little ones in layer after layer of clothing only to hear the dreaded words, "I have to go to the bathroom!" And, how about all the time we spend in the bitter cold scraping our windows and warming up our cars?
I am with Bruiser. I hate the cold. It must have been invented by Satan himself.
I am holding out that Nurse Boy is going to afford us a winter home in Florida in the near future.
I like to dream BIG...
Monday, November 17, 2008
One of Nurse Boy's favorite movies is Forrest Gump. It is a classic. Besides the whole, "Life is like a box of chocolates...," my favorite scene was when they were talking about all of the different ways shrimp can be prepared. Don't remember the scene? Well, the man just rambles on and on forever naming shrimp dishes.
What is my point? I can do that with chicken.
We eat chicken most nights. My kids hate ground beef and are willing to tolerate chicken. Chicken is good for us, versatile, and affordable. I try to prepare it various ways, in hopes that noone will tire of it. I have come to the realization that my list of chicken recipes goes on and on and on and on. Most nights the kids will ask what's for dinner. I always answer chicken. Not missing a beat, they demand, "What kind of chicken?'
I still have a point.
Starting this Friday, I will begin hosting Friday Fare. I will share one chicken recipe each Friday. Hopefully, I can put some chicken on your table too!
Starting next week I will also share a special post each Monday entitled Monday's Random Musings. Not as catchy, I know.
You may have noticed that I have taken over Nurse Boy's blog. He has promised he will be back when school and work are seemingly light. He will join me when he can, but for now I will just make myself at home.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Most of you probably think it is a good idea to have your kid read the Bible. Filling your kid with the word of God is usually a good thing. Well, Dimples has been reading the Bible on his own for the last couple of weeks. He has finished Genesis. He noticed something that he was unfamiliar with so he asked his Bible teacher in school.
What is sexual relations?
His bible teacher told him that was a very important question, and that he should ask his mom and dad. So, as soon as he got in the car with Mrs. NB that afternoon he asks, "What is sexual relations?" I am not sure what her exact words were, but it created doubt in Dimples that the Mrs. even knew what it was. She did tell him that I would talk to him about about it.
Mrs. NB gave me a heads up, so as soon as I got home from work I had Dimples, who is turning nine on Saturday, come up to my room with me while I changed my clothes. I am not quite as shy about the subject as Mrs. NB. In fact she was trying to coach me to not say too much. I had been looking forward to this subject for a while, so she was trying to curb my enthusiasm. I started out basic, but he was having none of it. There were a lot of hows, and whys, and uncomfortable smiling, and some expressions of horror. We laughed, he cried, and then asked, "So you and mom have had sexual relations three times then?"
How many times?
More than three... You see it doesn't always take the first time, and besides husband and wives like to have sexual relations.
Do you still?
Is that why you had your thing cut?
I explained that he will think of it as a good thing eventually. We went into a lot of specifics and he was satisfied.
I feel proud and sad at the same time. There is a whole lot of innocence that is gone now. The beautiful thing is that my eight year old just learned the facts of life by reading the Bible and asking the right people questions. That is how it is supposed to be. There is no shame and minimal discomfort surrounding the topic. He knows it is not a topic to talk to just anyone about, but knows he can come to me and ask any question that he has. He did tonight while typing this post. He asked, "So how do you know you are going to do it, does God just make your parts ready and then bam, you have to do it?" I apparently wasn't clear about getting to the point where he will want to when he is older. I don't know if it is the nurse in me, or just being the sexual relations enthusiast that I am, but I loved this conversation.
Mrs. NB is still in the fetal position and has not been able to make eye contact with Dimples for the last couple of days. She will need to get over it in time for Sweet Pea. That's six years of prep. I don't think she will be ready.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I thought I was joking.
Today we took possession of a bedroom set that we recently purchased. It is the nicest furniture that we own. Did it go to the master for Mrs. NB whose birthday is tomorrow? No! Did it go to the boys who both are celebrating a birthday this month? No! We spent all of our money on Sweet Pea, who does not have a birthday until April. We went to "look" at bedroom sets last week. We went looking many times. I don't know why the combination of my grown princess and my little princess is so powerful, but it is. They are like Jedi (I think Jedi is its own plural). Anyway, my little princess is sleeping on and among the nicest furniture in this house and she knows she has me where she wants me. I feel sorry for her future husband.
It is inevitable. We all eventually become our mothers. It isn't necessarily a bad thing. My mother is a fabulous woman who sacrificed for her kids and is now a terrific grandmother. Why is it that we can only focus on our mother's bad, or undesirable, traits that we slowly develop over time? Why can't we focus on those traits that we are happy we inherited? For example, I can make a mean pan of ziti. Where did I learn how to just throw those ingredients into the pan until perfection is obtained? My Italian mother, of course. However, I tend to not give her credit for that. My lack of patience, on the other hand, is ALL her fault. (OK, not really.)
Growing up, my mother had three traits that DROVE ME CRAZY. I am not even airing my dirty laundry here. She knew these things drove me crazy. I think I complained about them on a daily basis.
What were they? Well...
1. She ALWAYS drove the car until the little pointer thing (hey, I spend my days with a two year old) was PAST the "E", for empty, on the gas gauge. ALWAYS. This was before they had lights and alarms to warn you that you are at 1/8 of a tank or less. And, yes, we did run out of gas at least once. My mom claims it was only once. I think it was twice, maybe three times. I spent my entire childhood checking the gas gauge each time I got into the car and made comments about how much, or how little gas we had. (To this day, I HAVE to fill up as soon as the red light comes on. My husband tries to convince me it is not quite the emergency I make it out to be, but I just can't risk it.)
2. EVERY TIME we left the warmth of the indoors to go outside during cold weather, my mother would have to turn around and go back in to go to the bathroom. EVERY TIME. (I am going to pay for this one!)
3. My mother could NEVER find her keys whenever we were out and about. Never, ever could she find her keys. Every time we would leave a store, she would be convinced that she had lost her keys. Forever. She did this almost daily. She always found them at the bottom of her purse, after she emptied the contents of her purse while standing in the middle of some strange public place. By the time I was ten or so, I just stood there waiting for the, "Oh, here they are, at the very bottom of my purse. Imagine that."
Guess what? I can never find my keys now.
I used to think it was just my mom. I now think it is moms everywhere. (If this does not include you, humor me. K?) Us moms have to have diapers, pull ups, wipes, extra clothes, snacks, sippy cups, and so much more swimming around the inside of our purse. I always told my mom that she needed to carry a smaller purse so she could find her keys. How could she? She had to be prepared for any and every emergency.
I get it now. I live it now. My keys are always at the bottom of my purse. Hidden amongst all of the items I am sure we will need. If I don't have them on me, we will definitely need them. How can I risk it?
Someday Sweet Pea will have a list of things that I did during her childhood that drove her crazy. I am pretty sure that my issue with my keys will be number one. She'll learn...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This year I have finally decided to get involved in a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. It has been enjoyable. Each week they "spotlight" a mom in the group. This basically means they ask you a few questions about yourself and post them in the newsletter in hopes of learning more about one another.
This past week I was the spotlight mom. One of the questions frightened me. Something about my favorite thing about myself. How do you answer that? I went with the whole, "I am a loyal wife and friend." True statement. And, a trait I deeply desire in all of the people I surround myself with. It just felt like a weird question.
One of the other questions brought back some funny memories. They asked me how I would spend a day if I did not have any responsibilities or obligations. I said that I would steal away for 24 hours at a bed and breakfast with my Nurse Boy. We do try to get away once or twice a year for a mere 24 hours. It does wonders for us to reconnect, eat a few meals in peace, and SLEEP IN. We return better parents and spouses.
Last year, my parents gifted us a night at a bed and breakfast in a quaint town on the outskirts of the city. Once we checked in, we knew right away that this may not have been the romantic getaway we were looking for. The owner was an older, single lady. Friendly enough, but think lonely, old cat lady. Only, she had a yappy, little dog that was her pride and joy. We soon discovered that this house was not quite the "mansion" she had advertised. It was her childhood home that she just couldn't part with, yet needed to turn it into a business in order to pay the mortgage.
It was a little creepy walking through that house. She had kind of made it into a museum or memorial to several generations of her family. Each room was decorated, I mean saturated, with very random items from her parents, aunts, uncles, etc. Many of the items were not necessarily items you would normally put out on display and dust around. One bedroom, thankfully not the one we stayed in, had her mother's numerous purses hanging on several of the walls for display. Purses. Not even very exciting purses. Although, I don't really find purses to be very exciting unless they are on some one's shoulder and are worthy of carrying all my crap...I mean stuff. She also had hairbrushes and combs carefully on display on an antique dresser. OK, that is just creepy. Some dead woman's comb and brush with some leftover hair. When I die, I hope my family will pitch my comb and brush. But, not my Chi. I love that thing. Maybe they should keep that out on display.
She had stuff EVERY WHERE in this not-so-big-house. Antique fur coats were even hanging on hooks as part of the decorations. I don't even remember our room's decor. I think I blocked it out of my mind. We felt like we were staying at grandma's house and she and her dog could walk into the room at any given moment with some homemade cookies and fresh milk. It wasn't quite what we were looking for. We had three kids and a cat at home. We were looking for a quiet, relaxing evening. Prior to our checking in, she also boasted about our private, luxurious bathroom. Apparently, private means down a very long, very public hallway. Luxurious just meant no kids or cats, but maybe a small yappy dog.
Even this little town was filled with antiques (which were beautiful) stuffed in small locally owned stores. We did have fun doing a little shopping and eating at a local Italian restaurant. However, everywhere we turned, we found ourselves in small, tight spaces. When we returned to our "home" for the night, Nurse Boy had just about had it. He said he was beginning to feel like a giant. He felt like he couldn't stretch out his arms, or he just might break something. I am pretty sure he was right. I WAS certain he was going to break something everywhere we went that night. (And, I wonder where my boys get it from...)
We tried to make the best of the situation and spent most of the evening laughing about where we were. It wasn't romantic, but it WAS memorable! When we went to bed, we suddenly noticed that the heat was turned up to around 85. 85! I felt like I was in a sauna. Nurse Boy tried to open the windows. They were locked in a way that I've never seen before. There was NO opening those things. Grandma and her dog had been sound asleep for several hours by now. I kind felt like we might be the next morning's breakfast.
The next morning I couldn't wait to return to my home. The organized chaos was a blessing to come home to.
A night at a bed and breakfast? $100. A romantic dinner out? $50. Memories to last a lifetime? Priceless.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I have attached a button on my site that will take you to wearethatfamily.com. She will be sharing Christmas ideas on Tuesdays. Sounds like something I might be able to put to use...only, I am not that crafty, nor patient. We shall see...
A few weeks ago I discussed our difficult decision to find a new church home for our family. God is calling us somewhere else. It has been a time of growth and reflection for all of us. Today I want to share what God has done for our family while we have floundered outside of our comfort zone.
Nurse Boy and I have rediscovered our passion for marriage ministry. We believe we have a calling on our lives to serve in this area at some point in our marriage. Hey, we know it could be many years from now, but we need some tools and mentoring in the mean time. We have always joked that it may just be licking envelopes for Gary Smalley, but we are hoping for more than that. It has been such a blessing to experience God re-sparking that passion in us. I'm not sure where it had gone, but I am so thankful it was not lost. ( Of course, I am speaking about our passion for the marriage MINISTRY. We have always made our OWN marriage a priority.)
God has shown us that this is also a time of growth for our family. Oh no, I DO NOT mean any more babies. Been there, done that, have a house full of kids. I mean spiritual growth. We are taking this opportunity to show, discuss, and share what we are trusting God to do for our family with the kids. We are believing that God has a plan and a new church for our family. Sharing with the kids our prayers, our desires, and our faith in God to provide for us is a wonderful opportunity. It is important for the kids to understand that it is difficult for ALL of us. We ALL want to learn, grow, and make new friends.
It is just like God to take a difficult experience and make it a blessing. So often we don't share the challenging things life throws at us with the kids. When we are facing something stressful, we often protect the kids. However, it is good to share some of those things that we are trusting God to provide. They will get to share in the testimony when we get to the other side of this journey.
We have jumped outside of our comfort zone. Do you know how scary that is?! Do you know how much it is rebuilding our faith?! All we can do is trust Him. It is so hard and such a blessing all at the same time.
Thank you, Lord, for this journey. We will continue to seek you in all we do!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
*Yesterday, Nurse Boy and I purchased a bedroom set fit for our Princess. I CAN'T WAIT to decorate her room! She has spent the past 2 1/2 years in Bruiser's old room. Bears and all. It is time for pink, pink, and more pink. I wonder if I can hot glue lace to the ceiling? Just a thought...
*Sweet Pea woke up with a stomach virus today. She needed her daddy. Mommy isn't the nurse in this house. I tried my best.
*It is official. My boys have turned into slobs, as is evident by their room and the playroom. I hope they come home from school ready for some marathon cleaning!
*Nurse Boy and I are going to a Gary Smalley Marriage Conference this weekend (provided everyone is healthy). I can't wait to spend time with Nurse Boy and just focus on our marriage.
*I think I may see some gray hairs on my head. Shh...don't tell me if you have noticed. I am making a hair appointment as soon as I sign off of here.
*Why must my 2 year old stick her finger up her nose EVERY TIME someone in public shows her some attention?! So embarrassing!
*I REALLY want to simplify Christmas this year and keep the focus on Jesus. I pledge to do this every year. I think I fail at this every year.
*I also pledge to not eat too much during the holiday season...need I say more? Man, I LOVED it when I was pregnant during the holiday season. It just didn't seem to matter when it looked like you already had a turkey in your "oven." Those were the days. Except for all the morning sickness, sleepless nights...never mind. I'll just watch what I eat.
*Soccer season is officially over. Honestly, I am sad. I love watching my little men run around the field while their Dad hollers at (I mean encourages) them.
*I have really enjoyed talking politics with Dimples. I have been able to stay positive and remind him that our government is not our savior and that the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders. It has kept everything in the proper prospective for me.
*Man, my kids keep me humble. I love that! Who can get too full of themselves when you have someone vomiting on you? Not I!
Time to call the hairdresser...I don't want to be too humble.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I am a multitasker. I believe most women are. Nurse Boy is not. Well, not at home. He is incapable of watching TV AND having a conversation. Oh, he tries sometimes, but he does not fool me. He also struggles to read the Saturday paper while feeding the kids breakfast. It is funny to watch as the kids sit with a bowl full of cereal while they are missing milk or a spoon, or both. I have learned to only ask ONE thing of him at a time. That is the difference between men and women, at least in my world. My intelligent nine year old son can only take one direction at a time, while my two year old daughter can do three things in one fail swoop.
However, all of my multitasking is not always as efficient as I would like to think. I can pay the bills on the phone while cooking dinner, loading the dishwasher, and helping the boys with their homework. Sometimes this saves time. Sometimes it burns a dinner, breaks a plate, or even makes for a very cranky mom later on.
Tonight I was dealing with a bill, picking up the playroom, and reading blogs when I realized Sweet Pea probably needed to take a restroom break. I had to quickly pull her out of the fort she and Bruiser made and set her on the potty while talking to a service representative. After I placed her on the potty, I started unloading the dishes. Next, I hear her precious voice call out from the bathroom, "I did it!"
Then I hear, "My UNDERWEAR! My UNDERWEAR!"
When I placed her on the potty, I forgot to pull her underwear down. She didn't seem to notice, until it was too late. Poor thing. She was so upset.
But, on a positive note, at that very unfortunate moment I was talking to a company that will probably be providing us with DVR! Do I get an amen? Last week I posted about this. I was resisting, but my bloggy friends all seemed to agree that DVR=Marriage Enrichment. Hey, you learn something new everyday. Today I learned that it will cost us $5 a month. All I have to do is give up one of my three Starbucks trips each month. Since I drink decaf, we aren't even dealing with an addiction. Well, other than the addiction to Survivor and maybe Dancing With the Stars. I think it will be $5 well spent.
You'll also be happy to know that we are putting a cable hookup in the basement in hopes of getting the dust off of the treadmill. I had been taping shows to play on our portable VCR player, but it was becoming a bit of a nightmare. Now, we won't have any excuses. Not yet, anyway. I am sure we will think of something.
Here is hoping your treadmill isn't dusty, your DVR is working, and your underwear is dry!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
So, I have a confession to make. Boy, I sure do air a lot of my dirty laundry on here! My Dad always says that if we don't, our children will. (I think he may speak from experience.) He is so right. I like to think that with me, what you see is what you get. No, I won't tell you that your butt looks big in those pants. That is a danger zone I am not willing to enter. Besides, I am more worried about my own big butt. But, I try to be an honest and genuine person. I always want to remain approachable. I want to be trustworthy. I want to be a person of good character and true to my word.
OK, I need to stay focused here. Back to my confession.
Are you ready?
I drive a dumpster on wheels. Yes, you read that right. It may look like a regular old mini van on the outside with three car seats on the inside, but it is a glorified dumpster on wheels. I think the whole neighborhood must be using it as such, because we couldn't possibly be the ONLY family adding to that hot mess. Surely not!
I try to clean out the loose papers and trash about every week or so, only to find the van filled with more trash the very next morning. THE. VERY. NEXT. MORNING. There also seems to be an odor that just can't be covered up with a yellow cardboard tree hanging from the rear view mirror. The tree seems to wave at me and mock me as I drive around town, as if to say, "Nice try, lady. You thought a three dollar purchase was going to cover up that nine year old stench?"
Every where we go, people give my children suckers, cookies, candy, papers, stickers, memory verses, crayons, and more PAPER. These items swim around my van. I am so tired of it, not to mention embarrassed when someone peers into the van to talk to the kids. I want to yell out, "No, look away! Look away! We really aren't slobs! Really, we aren't! "
And, we aren't. I take pride in my home. No, it is not ALWAYS clean. Or picked up. But, it USUALLY is. On a bad night, it may take the boys 10 minutes to give their room a thorough cleaning. And, that is with a little wrestling on the side. Our home is not our dumpster.
Our van is.
I have even made cleaning out the van one of the weekly chores for the boys, but the papers still find a way to multiply. The worst part is when my parents borrow the van to take all three of the kids somewhere. (Yes, Dad, I know you taught me better. In all fairness, you never had three kids. I know you had two, but the third one put us over the edge.) My Dad and I used to spend our Saturdays cleaning out the cars. With Q-tips. And, that is no lie. We took pride in our clean cars.
Now, I spend my Saturdays carting kids and Gatorade bottles to soccer games. Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. Bring on the Gatorade bottles and orange peels! The van couldn't possibly look any worse...or, could it?!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So, I recently talked Nurse Boy into attending a 6 week Marriage Enrichment Class at a local church. We have always been passionate about marriage as a ministry, as well as focusing on improving our own. It CAN always get better. I can honestly say that I love Nurse Boy more now than I ever have before. So far, I have been able to say that every year.
Since Nurse Boy was delighted to add yet another class to his already busy schedule, I signed us up. It has been nothing but a blessing. We have enjoyed the time together, as well as the opportunity to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses as a couple. (We, of course, do not have any weaknesses ;0) I am always right, he is always wrong. Once we both learn to accept that, our marriage will be stronger than ever!)
However, there IS one problem with our new found connection time. I thought it was a little problem, but to Nurse Boy it is HUGE. The class takes place on Thursday nights. Thursday nights have always held a very special place in our hearts. It is Survivor Night. We usually tape the show and watch it when the kids go to bed. We even watched a taped episode when I was in labor with Bruiser. (Yes, we did!) I was a little distracted, but Nurse Boy filled me in between contractions. Nurse Boy has always considered this a "date night". Yeah, right! I like some quality time to talk, reflect, and analyze our lives, NOT the lives of crazy people looking for their 15 minutes of fame while starving, dirty, and fighting with strangers. Just because we are sitting next to each other, does not a romantic night make.
So far, we have missed just about every Survivor since we started our class. Nurse Boy has this problem solved. He now wants DVR. We have only had cable for a year and a half. I still cringe when I pay that bill. I mean, is it really necessary to have 100 channels of infomercials? There is STILL nothing on!
We are living in the dinosaur ages. We have 2 VCRs, but only one still records. However, we lost the original remote to that VCR so we cannot use the timer feature to record. We have to actually be here to press record. Like I said, dinosaur ages. So, we asked my parents (also dinosaurs) to tape the show for us. When we popped the tape in, we watched beautiful black and white snow while enjoying the relaxing sound of static. Apparently, they have issues of their own.
Next, we tried to watch it online. The 40 minute show took us about an hour and a half to get through. For some unknown reason, the show constantly freezes up and pauses when we watch it via the computer. We are fans, but not THAT dedicated.
Yesterday, Nurse Boy asked me to call and get information about DVR. I don't think I am ready to leave the dinosaur ages. Once we have DVR, we won't be able to live without it. That happened with automatic car windows, cell phones for both of us, Internet, and cable just to name a few.
I think I may have just discovered the weakness in our marriage. Maybe, just maybe, it is our obsession with Survivor...
Friday, October 24, 2008
Sweet Pea is STILL potty training. I know what you all are thinking....Enough with the potty training posts!!!! Well, when you are in month TWO, it is frankly all you can think of. Elections? No. Economy? Nothing. Gas prices? Nada. Insane grocery bills? Not even going there. Potty training? Yes, yes, and yes!!! I have started counting potty chairs in my sleep. Really! I know, I need to get a hobby, but who has time where you are potty training?
Every time Sweet Pea sits on the potty, we are supposed to hover over her with pride. When she goes, her entire face lights up. She looks us in the eyes and says with such delight, "LOOK AT MY POTTY! Mommy, LOOK AT MY POTTY!"
Sweet Pea, I have been looking at your potty all of your life. From the very moment you were born. And every day since then. That is exactly what I am hoping to remove from my life right now. I do not want to see your potty, feel your potty, or even smell your potty. I simply want you to FLUSH it away. Do you get that?
I can't wait until I am officially finished looking at someone else's potty in my life! Nurse Boy is a GI nurse, so I don't think that day is coming anytime soon for him.
Don't worry, I will take every opportunity to rub it in when I can!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So, what's a girl to do when the weather is cool and rainy? That's right! Sneak in a little quality time with the kiddos and do some baking. Yum!
Yesterday the boys and I made Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies. Sounds weird, huh? I think they are fabulous! I found this recipe on some one's blog last winter. I don't remember just where on the web I found it, so I can't even give credit where credit is due. These cookies won't really help out during a horrible bout of PMS, since they do not include chocolate. But, they are delicious when served up warm on a cool, fall evening!
(I even stole 2 for breakfast...shh...don't tell the kids! And, Mom, don't lecture me about eating a healthy breakfast. They were calling my name. Really, they were!)
Dimples is a pro when it comes to baking. Next, he can serve up dinner while I sit back and watch Wheel of Fortune. I wonder if tonight works for him?
Bruiser is really growing up! He was so patient and really into all of the prep. He did want to make sure that he was going to get to lick the beaters and eat some cookies. He does have his priorities straight!
I must confess that I am a little OCD, but I put that aside and let them do all of the work. This resulted in some unusual sizes and shapes. They were delicious none the less.
Monday, October 20, 2008
This has been a crazy time for our family over the last few months. We usually reserve this blog for the funnier side of our family. But when life seems serious, it is hard to be funny. Our daily life is still full of laughter, giggles, and smiles, but we are experiencing lots of CHANGE. God is challenging us to make changes for all of us individually, as well as corporately as a family.
Can I just say that I think change is hard? HARD. It is hard enough on little old me, much less my children. We won't even discuss my wonderful husband with a new job, school, and a family to support. His life is the definition of change. GOOD change, but change none the less.
We have always taken the time to constantly reevaluate what we are doing as a family. We do this OFTEN and in regard to everything we hold dear or deem important. Sure, we make mistakes. Who doesn't? But, we try to seek the Lord in all that we are doing. We want to be in HIS will, not our own. That is our heart's desire.
So, God has challenged us to trust Him while He makes a lot of changes in our lives. We ARE trusting Him. We want to trust Him, but it still isn't easy. Nurse Boy took a new job. He started working on his masters. Two of my children are in school full time. Make that private school, thus challenging our finances. My two year old is potty training. God is directing me to take part in different Christian studies and groups around the city to challenge me and connect me with other believers...
And, God is calling us to another church...
We have been at our wonderful church for 11 years. It doesn't all make sense now, but I am trusting that God has a plan. He often closes doors in order to open new doors elsewhere. For the last 3 years or so, we have seen a lot of doors close for us. We didn't understand why, but we think we may have been stubborn and not seen it until now. God was preparing us for the changes He had in store.
We love the people in our church. We have grown soooo much there. Our children were born and loved on there. Our marriage has BLOSSOMED there. We are not bitter or mad. We are simply obeying God and following His plans for our own family. We do believe that He has a plan for each and every family. We are simply searching His plan for us. It is as simple as that. It is a difficult time for us, but we are believing for an awesome testimony in the end.
We are praying that we can broaden our friendships, not eliminate friends. We are praying for a group of people that can support, encourage, and pray for us as we enter a challenging season for our family with Nurse Boy in school. We are praying for more friendships for each and everyone of us. We are praying for a church that can mentor us as we seek the Lord in raising our family to serve our God in what ever He has planned for each one of us. We are praying that our family will grow closer to Him and one another in this process of finding out where He wants to place us next.
So, I said all of that to explain the light, not so funny, blogging. This is just a difficult time for our family. But, we are trusting.... and, now that I got that off of my chest, I am hoping for the funny stuff to flow in the very near future. I still have a "chicken" post to come and an idea for a special Friday edition each and every week. And, I always have hopes for Nurse Boy to return a little more often. I think he has the entire month of December off of school, so stay tuned....
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Last Friday night we left the kids with my parents while we spent the evening with Nurse Boy's coworkers. They all work in a GI Lab, so you can only imagine the conversations they share over a meal and a little wine. I won't blog about that. I will suffer in silence.
My parents ventured out with the kids while we were gone. They went to dinner and stopped for ice cream. Oh, to be a grandparent! To think that dinner out will be enjoyable, relaxing, and affordable. I look forward to the day! That day is NOT today. Or tomorrow. As a matter of a fact, it might be decades away.
Anyway, they took the kids to a locally owned restaurant/cafe in the downtown area of our own little suburbia. Apparently, a good time was had by all, including the owners.
The next morning, Nurse Boy and I decided it was a perfect day for a fall walk to the city market. The cafe is located next to the city market. After we bought some fresh produce and the kids put their paws on EVERYTHING in sight, Nurse Boy and I decided to head into the cafe and treat ourselves to overpriced lattes.
(Why, I ask, does coffee taste better when it costs the same as an entire meal?)
The owner immediately recognized our kids from the night before. He went out of his way to tell us how well behaved and well mannered all of our kids were. He was so sincere and genuine. One of his employees overheard the conversation. She was stunned, to say the least. She told us that he really isn't "into" kids and if he said they were well behaved, he must have really been impressed. She had never before heard him complement some one's kids.
It was a blessing to hear that from a complete stranger. Training children is exhausting and it can SEEM fruitless. But, it isn't. Our kids aren't perfect, but they are sweet, caring, kind, and loving kids. We have always prayed that they would be a blessing to us and everyone they are around. We pray they shine the light of Jesus everywhere they go.
So, sorry if I have bored you with all of my bragging today, but... it's my blog and I'll brag if I want to, brag if I want to. You would brag to, if it happened to you... (WHY is that old song from the sixties in my head, anyway?!)