Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We ain't Wii Fit.
We have aching arms, so we (I) ran 4 miles; now we (I) have aching legs.
So now I (we) have resolved to do the following this year...
1. Eat 7 fruits/vegetables each day (as opposed to the former standard of 7 per week).
2. Move our entire bodies for at least 35 minutes each day. (Coach wants to amend this to read moving outside for 35 minutes each day unless the temperature is dangerous. We are currently in discussions regarding the definition of "dangerous.")
3. Drink at least 70 ounces of water per day. (Which is a good lead-in for how romance has not died in our house- but I'll tell you about that tomorrow)
4. Everyone over the age of 21 will get 8 hours of sleep; everyone under 21 will get 9.5. (This one will be tricky for me- I'm not a sleeper, but I'm a little touchy about the luggage under my eyes- so I'm gonna give it whirl)
Friday, December 26, 2008
A little background- we have this shop called Bathos that makes all-natural European (it always helps if its European doesn't it?) soaps, shampoos, masks, lotions, bath salts, and HULLABALLOOS. Hullaballoos are chunks of pure wonderment shaped, in this case like a cupcake. Normally, they are balls about the size of an orange. The one I used tonight was called "Ultimate Chunk". You simply fill your tub, get it, and drop that puppy in.
After you've sung "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is" the fizzing will subside and you will be left in a wonderful cocoa butter and chamomile tea fog.
Oh- I got other things- things on my list like camera equipment, a camera, a sweater, some yummy-soft pjs, but nothing beats this $7 wonder.
I also highly recommend the Milk Loaf Soap- I had myself quite a time with that last night. I'm going to try the "Butter Lump" hullaballoo tomorrow night, and then go on to the other little wonders in that box.
Now- and please understand the gravity of what I'm about to tell you- I have pledged to buy myself one "Ultimate Chunk" hullaballoo for every pound I lose. I swear, I could launch myself into a full-on food strike for these things. I'm telling you this- if I am willing to give up chocolate- they're serious.
AND- Coach upped the ante a bit and said he'd get me another hullaballoo stash if I gave up Diet Coke (I told him when we were dating that if he dispensed Diet Coke, he'd be the perfect man- but more on my two great loves later). Anyway- I'm thinking on the Diet Coke thing- we'll just have to play it by ear- I'm still thinking food strike is the way to go- but you never know...
It's a Hullaballoo of a decision.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, AC and I stopped by McDonalds on our way to see The Tale of Despereaux - the drive-thru line was way too long and we had to make haste to Sears to pick up the Perfect Pushup contraption that Coach insisted upon for Christmas- and of course the candy run to the Walgreens across from the theater. (Because nothing takes weight off a person faster than cheeseburgers, fries, and Milk Duds.) Anyhoo- in front of us in line was this sweet daddy holding a little girl who was not yet two. There was another little girl who looked to be between 3-4 years old, and a boy who was eight-ish.
The first thing I noticed was that the preschool daughter had a very interesting drawing ON HER FACE. On closer inspection, not only did she have drawing on her face, but also some snot and what looked to be a Rice Krispie fragment. Her hair was the most impressively matted case of bedhead I have ever witnessed, but she did have a hot pink hair bow in it (you know, hair bows cover a multitude of sins). Then I noticed the leg of the toddler girl, who was riding on her daddy’s hip. The sweat pants that were black from the hem to mid-calf (and I use the word “hem” loosely as the child had on sweat pants that had been cut to the correct length!) were bad enough, BUT- it was neither the frayed hem nor the sludge (which honestly, looked reminiscent of “bar gravy”) that had soaked up the child’s leg that got my attention- it was the condition her sweet little leg that caught my eye. It was solid blue- not bruised, but colored. I was pretty sure it was Sharpie Blue, but couldn’t be sure. This child looked to have the mark of Cain on her forehead- also in Sharpie Blue. She too had the snot/Rice Krispie combo going as well as the bedhead and hair bow.
Her sweet daddy had given her an entire pack of gum to play with while he ordered their lunch. (In fairness- it appeared that he too had bedhead, but an Alabama cap had replaced the bow. He had no snot or Rice Krispies, but he did sport some serious baggage under his eyes- it was obvious he had had himself a weekend!) Blah, blah, blah…AC reminded me louder than I would have liked that you had to be three to chew gum- it’s the law.
At that point the child took a piece of gum that she had sucked on and then kneaded with her hands and stuck it in her daddy’s hair.
Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I told him he had gum in his hair; when he turned around I also noticed that he had it stuck on the tip of his nose. The preschool aged daughter began singing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (which I thought to be very perceptive and her comedic timing was impeccable). It was at that point that he told me that his wife had gone out of town for the weekend with girlfriends to finish shopping. (Explains a lot doesn’t it? Because I knew he was either a divorced dad or a widower). He went on to reveal that she had left them outfits for every day, but apparently there was an unfortunate event that involved a bike ramp and a new Labrador Retriever Christmas sweater that had driven him to the local Walmart to buy the children two sweat suits each to wear for the remainder of the weekend. He told me his plan was to simply throw them away before his wife returned home. (Because – and this is my second favorite part- “You have no idea how hard it is to watch three kids all by yourself.” Oh yeah- no idea…).
And that is when the son finally spoke (now, surprisingly the boy’s hair was neatly combed, he was clean, and he did not have the snot/Rice Krispie combo on his face). Anyway, he asked his dad how he was going to get the marker off the girls. And this was daddy’s reply:
“I don’t know; after we get finished eating we’re going to go to Home Depot to see if we can find something.”
Did you hear me? HOME DEPOT!!! He was going to ask Retired Bob to give him a solvent of some sort to remove the ink from his precious daughters’ faces.
Y’all I about had a stroke. I am sure when that sweet momma finds out (and dads- she WILL find out) what happened to her sweet children- well, she’ll have to go somewhere and convalesce.
And isn’t that what started this whole mess?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So, in an effort to make our food choices tasty, I have scoured my Weight Watchers cookbooks. Below is my family’s absolute favorite dish. They have no idea that it’s a WW recipe.
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans Rotel
Black pepper (to taste)
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 cups shredded 2% cheddar cheese
8 Tortillas (I use flour, but you can use corn if you prefer)
Saute the onion and garlic using Pam spray. Add the cans of rotel and both peppers, let simmer until liquid reduces. Take half of tomato mixture and stir in with chicken. In each tortilla, sprinkle some cheese, then spoon 1/8 of chicken mixture into tortilla. Roll up, and place in a 13x9 baking dish. Repeat until you have made 8 enchiladas. On top of the enchiladas, spread the remaining tomato mixture and top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 until cooked through.
Easy Refried Beans
16 oz can refried beans (I use fat-free)
½ cup salsa (fresh is best)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Place the refried beans and salsa into a sauce pan. Place on medium heat until heated through. Transfer to a serving dish and top with cheese.
Serve this with some corn on the cob and you have a low-fat, high fiber meal that tastes good. Dessert? As much as I’d love to give you some yummy thing, the truth is that we had strawberries on frozen yogurt.
Merry Christmas! Next week instead of giving you the menu for Sunday, as I’m sure it will be a smorgasbord of Christmas cookies and leftovers, I’m going to give you the menu for our New Year’s Eve party. We’ll be kickin it with 6 people under the age of 12, because, hey- that's how we roll.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wednesday night we were at our faculty Christmas party and I was talking to AC’s teacher about spelling and such when she said something that has stuck with me. She was encouraging me and she reminded me of Luke 2:19: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can say with great assurance that had I been immaculately impregnated, almost stoned, chastised and judged by everyone who knew me, and then forced to travel on a donkey for miles while 9 months pregnant in the cold only to give birth to a baby in a barn- well, let’s just say this- I don’t know that treasuring things in my heart would have been the first thing I did.
As a matter of fact, I can almost guarantee that while what I would have done next probably would have been a story of biblical proportions- graciousness and thankfulness probably wouldn’t have oozed from me. Nope, had I been Mary, the end of the Christmas story would have recorded some sort of hissy fit and subsequent institutionalizing of me- which is why God is God and I’m just little old me, because clearly, I don’t do well under pressure.
But ponder she did, and then she went about the day-to-day job of raising the Savior of the World. (No pressure there!)
So, rewind back to Wednesday night. AC’s teacher encouraged me to ponder more and worry less, so I went home and prayed that God would allow me to do just that. And look at what happened next:
Christmas Miracle 1 – Thursday afternoon out of nowhere it started to snow. It snowed for several hours – big flakes. Then it started to stick…then it snowed harder…then it started covering everything. Let me remind you- we live in Tennessee- it doesn’t snow here in December, and it very rarely snows hard enough to cover the ground. But snow it did. Not knowing how long the snow would last, I fed the kids sloppy joe’s for dinner and bundled them up and sent them out. AC was literally so giddy that she squealed- just went outside, twirled in circles and squealed. They stayed outside together without arguing for two hours. Then they came in, and G helped AC with her homework, an event much like the Hale-Bopp comet (it'll only happen once every 120 years). Black Nikes anyone??? They sat at the kitchen table and talked to each other and laughed…
Giddy children in the snow...
Christmas Miracle 2- Saturday evening we went to Coach’s parents’ home for dinner and the nativity scene. They have done this for years – the family sits around while someone reads the Christmas story from Luke 2, and we all place the pieces of the nativity scene around the manger. There is intermittent singing- and for me and my people- it’s generally an uncomfortable evening. (My clan is not a very demonstrative group).
There are 6 children ages 4 – 12 represented at this event. All six of them have really impressive control issues that manifest themselves very differently. Y’all we sat down and read Luke 2, and I swear I even managed to sing for a few seconds during “Away in a Manger.” Then the weirdest thing happened…all six of the kids were in the floor, sans Nintendo DS, singing carols (totally unprovoked) each playing with his/her own little nativity scene that Coach’s mom bought them three years ago. It was honestly the first time a big family event has been relaxing.
All of the cousins sitting happily together.
I have to be honest- at this point I thought I needed to start watching animal behavior, because they say that animals start to act really weird before major natural disasters- I was sure that based on the oddly pleasant behavior of ALL of the children at the same time, we were witnessing the first of many signs that Armageddon was imminent.
Christmas Miracle 3- We got in the car to go home after the manger scene. It was a beautiful night, it had not been very cold all day, and there were stars everywhere. Coach pointed out the North Star- and I kid you not, the kids broke into spontaneous singing again. It was the corniest Griswold moment EVER! So, I had to pray right then and ask God to give me a sign if he was trying to talk to me or if I had just eaten too much bacon at dinner.
Fast forward five minutes. We are driving down the interstate in silence (a miracle in itself) listening to Bing Crosby when Coach and I witness a shooting star together! Okay, okay- but shooting stars? So, we get the kids home, and I have to run to the grocery store for milk and dog food. I drive the five minutes to the Kroger down the street; I put Sara Groves in the CD player and am listening to that and praying to God AGAIN- (he knows I’m terrible at signs- you pretty much have to hit me square in the nose with the point you’re trying to make).
Y’all I saw four more shooting stars on the way home (The trip to Kroger is 2.8 miles round trip). I saw more shooting stars in 30 minutes on Saturday night than I’ve seen in my entire life!
So, just like the wise men got a sign in the stars two thousand years ago, God talked to me in the sky.
This Christmas season instead of worrying, you’ll find me pondering things like the excitement the kids have over Clyde (our elf) and where he’ll appear next, their laughter at the same old movies we watch every year, their explanations and thoughts on the importance of Jesus’ birth, the Christmas carols on the radio, G breaking into song for no real reason, and a general good will towards men that I haven’t seen in a really long time.
And most importantly, I'll be pondering this:
“… the star that they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2: 9-10
Because sometimes we just need to look to Heaven for a sign.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Merry Christmas Everyone! Welcome to our home. Now, understand, I'm still relatively new to this picture thing- so the order is a little willy-nilly, but you'll get the idea. I love love love nutcrackers, so I have a small-ish collection.
Below is the nativity scene I inherited from my parents this year. The funniest thing- I have thought for as long as we've had this (1975) that my mother painted it. Turns out, as I was telling my kiddos this year about how their Neme painted it, she just looked at me as if I had lost my mind, and said, "No I did not, I bought it at the flea market when you all were little." So much for heirlooms...
This is not a Christmas decoration- it was a wedding gift from old family friends. It hangs up year-round, but it is a reminder of the season.
Our breakfast room (really where we eat all the time). Our real breakfast room is my car!
Our tree. We've learned our lesson- we used to go to this tree lot that was not close to where we live. The kids would complain about the cold and play hide-and-seek; I would be disillusioned and upset because they wouldn't act the way I thought children should act when searching for the perfect family tree- so I would get mad and pout a little on the ride home. Then- the aggravation of the lights would cause another tense moment in the house. So- this year- we found the perfect solution to the problem...HOME DEPOT. Coach and I looked at 3 trees, picked the second one, the kids ran through the aisles playing hide-and-seek caring little about the tree we chose, and all is well in our home. Home Depot was our first Christmas miracle.
It snowed! Thursday evening we got 3 unexpected inches of snow...in Tennessee...in early December...and today it was 61 degrees outside. Christmas miracle #2.
Anyway, every year there are a few festivals that take place downtown. There's the Jazz Festival, the Main Street Festival, the Pumpkin Fest, 4th of July, and in December- "Dickens of a Christmas." We love this one. There are dozens of people dressed up in Victorian clothing- there's a Scrooge that walks the streets handing children pennies and saying "Bah Humbug!" There are ghosts, fairies, and children who carol. I'm telling y'all - I eat this up. So, in honor of "Dickens of a Christmas" this is what I planned for Sunday Supper:
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Oh how I do love men in uniform!
Anyway- we also watched the SEC Championship (I am a huge UT fan- that would be Tennessee, not Texas- citrus orange- not burnt) Now, UT did not play because, well frankly, we were awful this year, BUT I was counting on Alabama winning. Now, don't misunderstand me- the only time I will EVER cheer for Alabama is when they are representing our very awesome football conference- but I have many many many friends who are Alabama fans, and they HAD a shot at the National Championship.
None of that really matters though- the real reason I needed Alabama to pull out a win was this: 120 Christmas letters that went out in the mail Friday evening. Apparently in all my UT Vol/ Phil Fulmer distress I failed to notice that while, yes, Alabama was undefeated- THE ONLY TEAM IN THE COUNTRY WITH THAT DISTINCTION- apparently Florida wasn't having a bad season either. Usually I keep them on my radar all season long- it's just generally a good practice where gators are involved, but for some reason (Ole Miss) I didn't give them much thought- so here was my thought process...
Alabama would win on Saturday, play for the National Championship in January and hopefully win so as to prove that the SEC is truly the best football conference in the country- life would be blissfull and then spring would come and it would be time to buy new sandals. BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO- Florida ruined all of it- and most notably my Christmas letter where I very ignorantly declared that at least Florida didn't have a chance at becoming the National Champions.
Turns out- they do and the Christmas letter is total nonsense except for the part where I, in a VERY weak moment, admit to mooning everyone in a tanning salon by accident on my birthday.
Needless to say, there was a lot of drama here this weekend, and no one can be expected to cook anything in those conditions- so we ate grilled cheese tonight.
But- here's a hint - cook those babies in a waffle iron and let the cheese ooze out of the sides and brown (burn) on the waffle iron- husbands love that and think it's really hard to do. Serve it up with some KC Masterpiece chips and left over pumpkin pie and all will be well!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Sets them under the tree- although this year since the gifts are small and expensive he's hiding them and sending the kids on a scavenger hunt!!!
Colored lights on tree or white? White
When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving
What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Peppered Beef Tenderloin
Favorite Holiday memory as a child: On Christmas Eve my brother and I were always so wound up about Santa and Christmas that we couldn't sleep - so we would stay up all night (or try to) in his room playing video games or with Star Wars figures or something and just hang out. We did this until we were in college- (not the Star Wars figure part- but the hanging out all night)
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 8; family friends told us because they thought it was wrong to "lie" to children- I haven't gotten over it yet
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Coach puts the lights on; I pull out all the ornaments, and the kids put them on the tree. It's a lot of fun because they get new ornaments each year and I write their names and year on them; they love to talk about what we did that year or what special significance the ornament has; they also like to fight over putting the snowman ornament that I got when I was in Kindergarten on the tree- it's made of felt and looks brand new- it's 33 years old!
Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love Love Love it!!!
Can you ice skate? Yes- just not very well
Do you remember your favorite gift? Adoption Doll- hands down - Christmas 1981
What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? "There were shepherds living out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a gift to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Cheesecake, cookies, fudge, Butterscotch cookies...
What is your favorite tradition? Old tradition - getting the tree and decorating it; New tradition- Elf on the Shelf
Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Both! Giving is a lot more fun now - especially giving to people who never know we gave- so fun to do!
What is your favorite Christmas Song? "The Holly and the Ivy"
Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Okay
Ever recycled a Christmas present? No
I Tag the Texans- Copy and paste this- provide your own answers and please let me know when you're done! Thanks a bunch!!!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I let it go on for a couple of minutes hoping that they would correct themselves, but they did not. Here's the rest of the conversation:
Me: Hey- do not talk about bodily functions at the dinner table.
G: Okay mother (he uses that to make me angry- it's his sarcastic name for me)
V: (laughing hysterically and at a pitch that only dogs can hear)
AC: (laughing) Okay mom...buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp
Me: Seriously, it's inappropriate to talk about that kind of stuff at the table
AC: You mean it's inaPOOPriate.
G, AC, & V: Hysterical laughter
Me: (eyes rolling and trying not to laugh) Yes, it is inaPOOPriate.
I have to hand it to the kid- she's funny when she wants to be. I just pray it's a trait she learns to use for good and not evil.