Sunday, January 31, 2010

To Be Continued...

So sorry there are no recipes today- but on Friday we got this...

And we spent today doing this...

And it doesn't look like it here...

but I must get my battered body into a hot bath.

See y'all!

Friday, January 29, 2010

1986: You Had to Believe We Were Magic

Nothing could stand in our way...

The year: 1986

When the men were strong, the women were good looking, and football players could rap.

And I was a freshman in high school.

And my BFF Michelle and I might have spent more time learning this than teasing our hair...

And the good news?

They're making a comeback. Oh yes they are, and it makes my heart sing with joy and thanksgiving. It looks as though Mike Singletary, Willie Gault, and John McMahon are resurrecting their rapping skills for the Superbowl this year.

AND- if that's not enough...REO Speedwagon and Styx are traveling together in February, and I don't know about you, but I can't fight this feeling anymore. I might just have to go full 80's for the next few weeks. Hi Infidelity anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I heart the 80's!

Now, I've got to go find my neon jellies and my Xanadu album!

See y'all!

Snow Day!!!


Well there’s just not much better than a surprise day off is there?  We are home enjoying a snow storm.  Seriously, a real live snow storm…in Tennessee.




So, AC and I started the day by making Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls.  We were all richly blessed.  But not to be outdone by some yeast and butter and sugar and stuff, I also made Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich FOR LUNCH.

c rolls

Then, I grabbed these two old friends and we went to meet


this friend for a lazy afternoon of watching snow fall and birds at the feeder.

chair & fire

Meanwhile, AC played school and watched cartoons and

ac     G. listened to his iTouch.  And he ate.  And he made sarcastic jokes.  And he ate.  And he listened to music.  And he asked when we were going to eat again.  Then he took a nap as did Coach. 

There are no pictures of Coach sleeping, because I met my quota on unauthorized videos and pictures.  We like him happy.


And Mack stared at us and dreamed of cinnamon rolls and toilet water.


Happy snow day!

See y’all!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random Silliness

Well, we're anxiously awaiting yet another "worst winter storm we've seen in years." We were anxiously awaiting one a couple of weeks ago- 100% chance of snow.

And we had nary a flake. Not. even. one.

This time the storm is coming from the west- all sorts of snow and ice and sleet. 100% chance for precipitation; can't miss us. Yeah right.

Again, AC has put ice in the toilet, crayons (which incidentally is a spelling word this week) in the freezer, a spoon under her pillow or in her ear or something- I sort of lost track. She also insisted that I put my pajamas on inside out.

Yeah, I don't know if I'll do that, the OCD tendencies kick in and I get all paranoid about seams being on the outside.

Weird- I know. But you should know by now there is no shortage of weird here. I think I'll just play fast and loose with a prayer and some crossed fingers.

This week has been Coming Home week at school. The students choose 5 senior boys to run for Coming Home King- every morning they have to perform for the student body and then we vote. They have do a dance, sing karaoke, and exhibit a talent.

Well. Well, well, well. There's a boy Coach has taught at two different schools for the last 6 years. I have to tell you this- it was quite a commitment on both of their parts. They've been together since this boy entered 7th grade.

They know each other. Well.

So, said boy did an imitation of Coach as his talent. Some of it is dead on, and some of it not so much. But, it is all priceless. And I have to say- you have no idea how hard this was for Coach, but he was a great sport about it. (And honestly, I do believe this performance sealed the Coming Home crown for said boy.) If you have a few minutes, I invite you to enjoy.

Let me be the first to say that Coach does NOT take direction from me often, and he certainly doesn't listen to me about what he wears. If he did, he wouldn't have worn this to school today:

Anyhoo, not much else has happened here, but I was going through my text messages today looking for the scent of a candle that I wanted to pick up. A friend had sent me the names of the scents.

There were two that she recommended. One was for the kitchen and living areas, the other for the bathrooms.

The text from my very conservative friend said simply this: "Coming Home. Butt Naked."

I hate to erase it because the candle scents are divine and my memory is terrible, but in the off chance that I have an accident and an EMT goes looking through my phone for emergency information, well, you see how that could go.

And my favorite was a conversation between G and AC:

AC: "Hey G did you know that 1456/1456 =1?"

G: "Yes"

AC: "Yep, that's the magic of the calculator. It's a fascinating machine."

G: "Hey AC, did you know that in Turkey when you turn 3 they put you on a horse and circumcise you in front of all your friends and family?"

AC: "Does the horse have a saddle?"

**Note: She has NO IDEA what it means to be circumcised- she thinks it's some sort of exercise, which really doesn't explain the saddle question.

And really, there's nothing you can say to

Here's hoping for snow and some writing inspiration tomorrow!

See y'all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dear Winter,


pretty winter

We don’t think you’re pretty anymore.  As a matter of fact, you really look more like

ugly winter



called.  She says you need to pack your

pack bags




    Seriously.  It’s time.  Walk away, and take the wind, the cold, the snow, and the dreary skies with you.

See ya!

Mrs. Momsense                                       

Food Fight!

Here's what you all came for:  Sapphire cuteness!

All right, so I think it's cool that grocery stores have self-check out.  If you've ever been waiting in line with just a loaf of bread in back of 3 people with full carts, you know how useful it is to just scan it yourself, pay, and go.  But there are times when self check-out is not appropriate, such as when a mom (guess who!) with three kids on the verge of exploding is trying to buy a huge cartful of groceries.  Yes, I know it's only 8am.  I shop at that time because it works with my kids' schedules, and the stores are not crowded.  But, Smith's, could you please put the "customer" back in "customer service", and open up a checkout stand for me?  Or, pay me for self check-out, since I'm doing your clerk's job!  It wouldn't be so bad if you could scan things quickly, like the clerks can.  But, no, every time you scan something, you have to put it in the bag and wait for the machine to weigh it before scanning the next thing!  And, to make matters worse, every time there's an item that's a little bit strange (and, since I like to buy clearance items, this happens quite often), I get "An attendant has been notified to assist you".  Assist me, really?  How about assisting me by CHECKING OUT MY GROCERIES FOR ME?!

I should probably just ask them politely to open up another checkstand.  But, that's not nearly as fun as writing a dramatic rant in my blog!

Quotes for the week:
Wes: "Why did the math teach decide to learn a musical instrument?"  "He wanted to learn Peano arithmetic!" (if you get this joke, you're even geekier than me!)
Andrea: "Sapphire!  You're supposed to take the eyes out of potatoes, not put potatoes in your eyes!"
Quartz: "How you spell Sapphire is C-E-O."
Onyx: "I have one hundred sixty one lives!"
Sapphire: "Bway!  Bwake!  Bye!" (upon getting her blanket and being taken up to bed)

Wes' favorite foods are sausage, bacon, and peppers.
Andrea's favorite foods are blueberries, cheese, and ham.
Quartz's favorite foods are pie, muffins, and soy yogurt.
Onyx's favorite foods are popcorn, craisins, and sourdough toast.
Sapphire's favorite foods are scrambled eggs, crackers, and bananas.
The hermit crabs' favorite foods are watermelon, banana . . . and crab.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Supper Edition 24: Orange You Ready for Spring?

Well my, my, my. The little one is playing basketball, and I have to say- she’s a little bit mean and a whole lot scrappy, which is good because the team they played on Saturday had a couple of Sasquatches on it. They also had a 40-something lady coach that made Pat Summit look like Paula Deen.

That woman put together combinations of lewd words that I haven’t heard since, well, I’m pretty sure I’ve not heard the likes of her talent anywhere, and certainly not from a lady.

AC got to take her first free throws after some big farm girl hit my baby. Here she is:

free throw
After the game we had to pick G up from taking the SAT. It was supposed to be finished at 12:00…they finished at 1:30. G was not the least bit happy with this. There is no picture as he was foaming at the mouth and shooting fire from his eyes.

Needless to say, after playing the Neanderthals in basketball and asking a 13- year-old to spend the better part of a nice Saturday deciphering analogies and quantum physics, moods were unstable, and stomachs were growling.

We had a little bit of sunshine and warm temperatures so we went to SATCO for lunch. Again, I apparently have a less than epicurean taste for Mexican food. I’m totally okay with owning it, because if it allows me to sit outside and listen to some Billy Joel and Neil Diamond while eating and watching all the Vanderbilt co-eds jogging and frolicking, well bring on the queso and cheese.

It also reminded me that spring is a mere 6 weeks away, and I was rejuvenated and inspired to cook all new recipes for dinner.

Y’all God and some navel oranges blessed us largely tonight. I’m telling you this was one of my better efforts and everyone is fat and happy tonight.

Here you go- happy cooking.

Spinach Salad with Hot Citrus Dressing
2 lbs. fresh spinach
2 cans mandarin oranges
1 large purple onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
3 ounces parmesan cheese
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I used almond slivers)

Remove stems from spinach, wash leaves, and pat dry. Arrange spinach and next five ingredients on 8 salad plates. Drizzle with Hot Citrus Dressing

Hot Citrus Dressing

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 small onion diced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 T. grated orange rind
1 t. salt
1 t. hot sauce
1 cup peanut oil

Process the first three ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add brown sugar and next 4 ingredients; process until smooth. Turn processor on high and add oil in a slow, steady stream. Pour into a 2 quart sauce pan (non-aluminum) and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Orange Marmalade
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 (1.5 pound package of pork tenderloins)
1 (12 oz) jar orange marmalade

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip bag and add tenderloins. Seal and marinate at least one hour. Remove pork from bag and grill over medium-high heat for 25 minutes or until meat is nearly done. Meanwhile, pour marmalade into a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until melted. Reserve 1/4 cup for basting; keep remaining marmalade warm. With 5 minutes left to cook, baste the tenderloins with reserved marmalade. Serve with remaining warm marmalade.

* You know, you could substitue the marmalade with red pepper jelly or jalapeno jelly if you wanted to.

Orange Herb Rice
2 T. chopped onion
2 T. butter, melted
2 C. water
1/2 t grated orange rind
1 t salt
1/8 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. dried oregano, marjoram, OR basil (I use basil- fresh...and a little bit more)
1 c. uncooked long-grain rice

Cook onion in butter in a large saucepan. Add water and next five ingredients; bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Green Beans with Carmelized Onion
2 lbs. fresh green beans
2 large sweet onions
3 tbsp. butter, divided
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Trim beans. Cook beans in boiling water to cover 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside, or cover and chill overnight if desired.

Meanwhile, cut onions into thin slices, and cut each slice in half. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat- add onion and cook 8-10 minutes. (Do NOT stir) Continue cooking onion, stirring often another 15-20 minutes or until golden. Reduce heat to medium, stir in remaining 2 tbsp. butter and brown sugar.

Add green beans, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add vinegar; toss to coat.

Serves 8.

See y’all!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moody Blues

Things G said today (and I'm not adding a single thing)

1. "Obama has single-handedly ruined my life." When I asked him how Obama could have possibly ruined his life he replied with something about soldiers in Yemen and Health Care Reform.

You know the two things on the forefront of every 7th grader's mind.

2. "My life is just so hard. It's not fair." To which I replied: "You're right. Compared to the children in Haiti who are sick and dying alone in tents without food and water, you've really got it bad. I totally see it."

Let it be noted that he replied "Geez Mom, you don't have to be so blunt."

3. And my personal favorite - "Do you have any idea how hard it is to get up every single morning, go to school, deal with people all day, come home, eat dinner, and then just do homework?"

Me: "No, not a clue." SERIOUSLY????

And all of this was over some teenage angst regarding a science test on genetics.

Don't go there.

The irony is palpable.

See y'all!

Monday, January 18, 2010

And She'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun til Her Hubby Takes the Microphone Away


Coach and I hit quite a dry spell. Our idea of fun included fair-to-midland Mexican food and a trip to our local Borders. If we were feeling especially froggy we'd maybe swing through the Starbucks drive-through so Coach could visit his friend Belle, the Coffee Princess. Then we'd hurry home so I could layer up in polar fleece and grab my computer while Coach stripped down to shorts and a t-shirt and did the same.

Big fun I tell you. Huge.

A couple of months ago Boo Mama and Big Mama were coming to Nashville for a visit, and to prove my aforementioned point about fun, I did recommend that they go to San Antonio Taco Company (which I still love- sue me, I like mediocre Mexican food).

It was a bold recommendation. Especially since Big Mama is from SAN ANTONIO.

It was the six-inch heel of recommendations- you have to be sure in your abilities to pull 'em off, and as I have come to find out, you have to be confident in your cuisine when you recommend Mexican food to a Texan.

Things could go awry quickly, and before you know it, you could end up with a hostile and slightly sick Texan on your hands.

Which I did.

And what I've learned through this whole blogging experience is this:

Don't Mess With Texas.

It was a rookie mistake, and it turns out, the first sign that Coach and I might need to, you know, GET OUT and have some fun.

So, this weekend- we did.

It started out benignly enough. We went to a benefit concert for our little 3-year-old friend Madelyn, who is fighting leukemia. We listened to some unbelievable musicians- one who had been Kenny Rogers's guitarist for 32 years, but sadly he would NOT play "The Gambler."

Not for love or money.

But, Ron, the Asian guy at the karaoke bar we ended up at later did. He also sang "Sweet Caroline" and "Rocky Mountain High." Then a man with some cartoon elf shoes and an offensive t-shirt sang some Johnny Cash. Solid gold.

And before I knew it Coach and one of his coaching buddies who can only be described as a Sasquatchesque Mr. Clean were singing "Man I Feel Like a Woman." Mmm mmm mmm. Good times.

Twas here that the fun commenced.

A few moments later I found myself performing "Proud Mary," doing the Cha-cha slide with my new friend DeAndre, and signing up to sing "Picture" with Coach- he was going to be Kid Rock and I was going to be Sheryl Crowe.

It seemed as though the first sign of the Apocalypse was upon us. Thankfully, they never called us, and the world was spared from impending doom...

For now.

Because the problem with Nashville is this- the karaoke bars are full of aspiring musicians. We've been in little honky tonks where Axl Rose has jumped on stage and performed "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and Bon Jovi is the guy who plays the breaks between the house band's sets.

The's serious.

So Texas, you go ahead and claim guacamole and Mexican cuisine as your own. We've claimed music.

And I can boldly and confidently say this: we WILL rock you.

Anyway, back to our fun: we karaoked, we danced, we laughed with friends...

And the coup de grace....

We ate Krystal at 12:30.

Did you know that "coup de grace" is French for "a final death blow"?

Yeah, that's why I used it.

So, all this to say we got out, did something we've NEVER done before, had ourselves an absolute blast, and found some entertainment for our Texan friends should they ever return to our fair city.

So Big Mama and Boo Mama, y'all come on back. This time I'll recommend a fun and fajita-free evening in Music City followed by some Krystals.

Much better than the Guacamole Incident of 2009.

See y'all!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Roly Poly Fish Hats

Here is Quartz proudly showing off his latest LEGO set that he built by himself -- the Power Miners Command Rig.  It took him two days to build, but he did it.  He even lets Onyx play with it too (as long as Onyx shares his fire station with him).

Sapphire just keeps getting bigger and bigger . . . she loves to climb, and sit on chairs/couches.  She feels like such a big girl when she sits on the couch and looks at a book!

Wes' parents and grandma are here for a little bit, so we had a great time playing mini-golf and riding the go-karts together.  Sapphire loved the purple golf ball, Quartz got a hole-in-one, and Onyx is finally old enough to play mini-golf without someone holding the club with him all the time.  Also note the awesome fish-hats Wes' sister-in-law knitted for us all -- so cool!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

From Bored to Busy

Well, I went through about 2 weeks at work where I was BORED TO DEATH!!!!  Nothing to really do, outside of the daily activites that needed to be done - that did not take very long to do.  Come 11-11:30, I was finished with my work, and really didn't have much to do the rest of the day.  Most of my days were spent searching for things on Etsy, and buying a lot of the things I found......Which, I have had to STOP since JAN 1!  Things have started to pick up speed since mid-last week, and I really have not had time for much of anything, other than to do these reports and things for work.

We are doing REALLY well on our "new budget."  I check our credit card statment for mid month, and we are have spent less than 1/2 of what we normally do by mid month.  I tell you what, those lunches out, and drive thru dinners really do add up!

I am so excited about this week.  Tomorrow, my sister-in-law is throwing me a baby shower.  I can't wait! We also have Monday off, so the work week will be short.  I have a dr. appt at my Primary Care - which I may end up canceling.  The only reason I was going to go is because we switched to an HMO insurance so we would not have an OUTRAGEOUS bill from the hospital when we have Alexis.  Now, just a small deductible payment, and we will be set.  BUT, now that we are on an HMO, I have to have referrals for EVERYTHING!  I was going to the chiropractor for massage every now and then, but now I have to have a referral for that.  The only way the dr. will give me one, is to come see her - since I have not been there in over a year.  Debating on whether or not it's worth the $25 co-pay to go.  Under the new insurance, I can no longer get my massage for $13.41, I have to pay $35, but that is still not bad for 1 hour.  I only have 5 weeks left, maybe I can stick it out.

Anyway, Thursday, I have lunch plans with Angela, and I'm definately looking forward to that.  I have been staying at the office EVERYDAY since we started our new plan of saving money.  Once or twice I may wonder out for about 15-20 min, just to get away, but I have pretty much been taking 10 min to eat my lunch in the break room, then going back to my desk.  Thursday will be a nice change.

Next saturday, my sister is throwing me another shower.  This one is supposed to be fairly big - about 25-35 people will be at my house.  Hope I have enough room!! :)  I'm so excited.  Never thought I would get a baby shower for my 3rd child, let alone 2!  I truly am blessed with some great family and friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Actually I have a couple confessions.

1. It's been so cold that I haven't shaved in so long the hair growth hurts.

2. Last night we watched an episode of Celebrity Rehab. I know. I KNOW. Please don't judge. Anyway, Coach made a rather profound statement. He said "Have you ever noticed that the longer a person is trapped in sin, the more demonized he or she becomes?"

Case in point:

Heidi Fleiss in a relatively "before" shot. And below, Heidi Fleiss as seen on Celebrity Rehab last night...

See? A little bit demonized. Anyway, Coach said it, not me. And he's right. But what I said at the time was, "Yeah, just like how people start to look like their dogs after a few years, right?"

And he said, "No nothing like that."

What I really think he's trying to drive home is this...

When you take the best coaching job EVER, and proceed to defile it with black uniforms, SEC coach bashing, a general refusal to wear the school colors, and a complete disregard for the traditions and pride of a football legacy, and then you quit a mere 14 months later leaving behind you only a pile of rubble and dust...

Well, you become a little demonized...

May the California breezes bless you Coach K. See ya!

And- see y'all!

Monday, January 11, 2010

An Inspiration........

Well, our family New Year's Resolution was to spend less money.  We have made this a "monthly" goal, but have not quite succeeded YET.  We really talked about it over Christmas, since we will be having our 3rd child soon.  Something that is sort of a MUST, and not optional anymore.....

So, with that, I decided that I will no longer BUY my lunch, unless I have some cash, or if I sold some Pampered long as it does not go on any credit card, or out of our checking account.....

With that goal in mind, I cooked dinner Monday night, with some left over, so I could bring it to work (Monday I ordered Chinese for lunch, but had cash), and did the same everynight thereafter, so I could bring my lunch.  My 4 yr old tried to ask if we could have Taco Bell Tuesday night, but I resisted the urge, and she was fine with me making her "Taco Bell Fav." at home :).....

My biggest problem is that I run out of ideas of things to I started searching the Food Network website for meal ideas.  They actually have some "30 min" ideas, and crock pot ideas.  Those tweaked my interest 1st, because my 2nd biggest problem is that I am PREGNANT! :)  Which, makes me tired.  Not to mention, I have 2 other children and work full time. Excuses, I know....My home ec teacher in highschool would be VERY disappointed.

After searching the website and printing some recipes that would be easy and could cook most of the day with minimal effort, I set out on a plan....  My plan was to PLAN meals for the next few weeks, then go grocery shopping this weekend......  I incorporated a few of the new recipes into some of our old traditional favorites, and went to the grocery store.  I had a "mental" budget of what I wanted to spend, and made sure to not get too many things outside of that... (a bad habit I often have).  I did get some breakfast things for the kids, a few easy snacks and easy quick meals for them, for when my husband has to watch them (like Thursday night when I go get my hair done!) 

The other key is to take a pen and piece of paper with you and put little hash marks for every $ spend, making the 5th mark across so that you can keep them grouped in 5's. Anything over $.50 will count as a $1.  It will all even out in the end.  If you stick to that, then you will know before you start putting things in the basket that you REALLY don't need, and can stick much better to budget.  Also, buying store brand for things that don't really matter.

After posting on Facebook that I planned the meals, went to the grocery store, was within $.08 of my "mental" budget - and was able to get a new crock pot as well - since I broke our....LITERALLY, like dropped it and it shattered into pieces.....others started commenting on my facebook.  My sister (1/2 sister from Dad's side), who is ALWAYS a great cook - even had her own catering company, emailed me to find out what I was making, how I did my shopping, and asked for pointers.  I was THRILLED!  She is the one that ALWAYS has the "good stuff" - even food sometimes I don't know what it is.  My other sister also sent me a message this morning that I "inspired" her to cook more at home too.  The "inspirations" are such an encouragement, because I am one to get tired easily.  Knowing that someone else has decided to try the same thing really keeps my spirits going......Hopefully it will last....

My newest obsession - which I have haulted since after Christmas (trying to save $$) is ETSY.  You probably know what it is and have probably see all the cute stuff they have on there.  Let me tell you...I have bought hairbows, and dresses, and all kinds of stuff on there.  Some of the last bit of stuff is coming in now - since they didn't have enough time to make during the holidays.  One of the girls here at work can sew, and she also told me that showing her some of the stuff I have bought has "inspired" her to maybe start making things again and selling them on Etsy.  I wish I was that talented, and for now, I think Alexis and Kaitlyn have PLENTY of stuff from there.  I even got some stuff for my sister and another friend.  It's just SO cute, I can't help myself!

Here is a dress that I bought for Alexis that came in today......Isn't it ADORABLE???  It's MUCH tinier than the one shown below, but SO cute! I have to stop looking at stuff online so I don't buy it.........

Well, to anyone that reads my blog, I hope you have a great day, and let me know if I even "inspire" you.  It really does boost my spirits and help me to stay on track.....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Complicated

So, you want to know what G and I did today? Go ahead- take a look- it'll cost you 46 seconds, and there's kicky music.

In the words of Lionel Richie, we have butted heads "all night long."

Nothing like a 13-year old boy.

Maybe I'll explain tomorrow and give you some stomach warming recipes, though we've had a bit of a heatwave today- it was 21.

Enough for tonight though, it's late and I have a bit of a headache.

I have no idea why.

See y'all.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cat Herding

So, there's this funny thing happening right now. I'm at school. It's 7 degrees outside with a windchill of -1. There is snow on the ground; and every side street I've seen is a skating rink.

And we are the ONLY school in session today within 200 miles. I am NOT exaggerating.

We're sort of like the post office.

Except at the post office the employees deal with letters and boxes and stamps.

We handle disgruntled teenagers who have a remarkable inability to control their hormones, emotions, and ability to reason. This lack of control is greatly exaggerated when they know they are the only people under the age of 18 who are not only out of their warm beds, but are also in school being asked to discuss the finer points of the digestion system and Moby Dick.

Sort of the same thing. Except it's really not.

Don't get me started. There's a word for a situation like this. I don't know what it is, but I know there's a word.

What I do know is that it is just too cold to be anywhere that frowns upon layers of polar fleece and Uggs.

Currently, I'm in one of those places.

But tonight- well, tonight I'll be back home in front of a fire in several layers of polar fleece watching whatever comes on television.

And we'll be eating this:

Chicken Noodle Soup

1/4 cup butter
3 medium carrots thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
16 oz baby bella mushrooms
12 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons of thyme (fresh if you've got it, but if it's 7 degrees where you are- just use the ground thyme)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (I use a whole lot more)
2 cups cooked shredded chicken (I buy the cooked rotisserie chickens and use a whole one- I pour the juice in the broth and put the skin is as well)
2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles

In a large Dutch oven , melt butter over heat and add the carrots, celery, onion, and mushrooms; cooke 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Add broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. THEN stir in chicken and noodles; simmer 8-10 minutes more until the noodles are tender. You're done - enjoy.

And this:

Artichoke Cheese Bread
(Adapted from Pioneer Woman- Ree Drummond's Olive Cheese Bread)

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4-6 green onions
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 pound Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1 loaf French Bread

Chop the artichoke hearts and onions. In a large bowl combine the butter, mayo, cheeses, artichokes, and green onions and stir until well-mixed. Slice the bred in half length-wise. Spread the mixture evenly on each half.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the mixture is thoroughly melted and the cheese starts to bubble and turn brown.

Cut into slices and serve with soup.

See y'all!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nary a Flake, But It's FREEEEEEZING

100% chance of snow with accumulations of 1-3 inches- that's what they said. They said there was no way it would miss. NO WAY.

Preparations were made, I WENT TO THE GROCERY STORE TO BUY MILK (but I must add it was because we were literally out of milk and waffles NOT because I was on high snow alert), we drug out snow boots and mittens, we wore pj's wrong side out, put ice cubes in the toilet, white crayons in the freezer.

You name it; we did it.


Nary a flake. Not 1. Obviously our meteorologists went to the Momsense School of Math and Percentages.

But, it's freezing. We've had temperatures above freezing for a whopping 4 hours THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JANUARY. Tonight it will be 6 with wind chills in the negatives.

And the temperatures are killing these guys:

The Tampa Zoo had to give the orangutans blankets and hot chocolate yesterday to keep them warm. I'm totally serious. There was news footage of one particular orangutan wrapped up in a blanket sitting in a bale of straw drinking hot chocolate from a mug, and I swear to you, there were marshmallows in the mug.

And not to be outdone, the temperatures have dropped so low in parts of Florida that these guys are literally freezing and falling out of the trees. Take a moment and imagine. Can't you just see it? A giant iguana storm in Florida. Oh- this is the stuff of great blog entries- if you live in Florida and get rained on by frozen iguanas.

If, however, you live in Tennessee and there are no frozen iguanas or chilled orangutans, just disgruntled high school students who want to lynch a few chosen meteorologists, you must resort to griping about the freezing temperatures, lack of precipitation, and general shortage of Eggo waffles (which requires a post entirely to itself- but just suffice it to say that we also have Mother Nature to blame for the great waffle shortage of 2010.

I cannot imagine anything more disconcerting.

See y'all!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

May the Force Be With You

It seems as though AC might have started a new science unit at school. I know this because she keeps trying to explain friction and gravity to me.

She has no idea how intimate I am with those two concepts. While running, friction is the constant reminder that I should have NEVER stopped running in the first place, but since I did, I am rewarded by fire-starting friction in the thigh and underarm area.

And gravity, well, let's not go there. All I can say is that gravity becomes VERY unfriendly once you have a baby, and as much as I love the South, I wish my rear-end and top parts didn't so much.

Anyway, yesterday we were walking across campus at school when she declared with great verve and passion that she hated math.

To which I said, "Get used to it sister, math makes the world go around. Well, math and chocolate."

To which she said, "No mother, you're wrong. Gravity and force make the world go around."

Well, of course.

See y'all!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Annoying people make me mad.......

Why would someone stop by my cubicle at work and ask me why I picked out the curtain I did?? (I have a curtain hanging so I can shut it when I'm really busy, so people won't bother me - it's actually a shower curtain, but still). Then, after I state that I picked it out because I liked it (why else would I have picked it??), they respond "really?" Some people just need to be slapped!!!!!!! This is the same person that I wish my curtain would automatically shut when they come by.......YES, THAT ANNOYING!!!

It's also VERY annoying that the people here CAN NOT COUNT!!!!...... SERIOUSLY....You know how many hours each week you are allowed to work, but it never fails that they still go over..... Always someone. What worse, is not only did they go over their "allowed" hours, but they went WAY OVER in OVERTIME!!!!!!!! Almost 10 hours....ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Is it really that difficult?? Being the Operations Manager, it is my job to check up on them, but when they pick up some last minute hours, and are asked "how are your hours?" I can only be responsible for so much.....and yet, in the end, I will be the one that gets in trouble for it.....How does that work??? Guess I have to get my calculator out EVERYDAY and add......uggggg.....

Sorry, don't mean to complain so much - actually, yes I do! :)

On a brighter note, this morning, another one of my employees sent my Co-worker (their boss), and email saying how wonderful I am. The funny part is, I have never physically met this employee; she was working here before I started, and only works weekends (while I am off). We exchange emails often and correspond that way......

My co-worker proceeded to forward it to her boss and mine, who sent it all the way up to Regional Management, who sent me back a nice sweet email...(can I get some $$ with that??? :) )
I am looking forward to my dr. appt today. It's at the specialist, and I get to see my little girl! :) Can't wait for her to get here....6 1/2 weeks left. I want to see how big she is now, and see if they can give me a "guesstamate" on how big they think she will be. I am counting down until maternity leave!!!!!! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Vacation in Foggy, Yet Comparatively Warm California

The day after Christmas, we hit the road to California!  On our way we saw the Mitchell Caverns in the Mojave desert -- they are some pretty cool caves, and there's great cactuses and Joshua trees.  If you're traveling I-40 between Needles and Barstow I recommend it.

We got lucky and the kids slept a lot of the way, though rarely at the same time.  We managed to wear them out at the caverns and enjoy a peaceful hour or two.

At my parents house, we had the whole family there -- my two brothers and my sister and my parents!  Pretty amazing.  My boys were entranced by Joshua's big ball factory -- it's pretty awesome.  They thought Joshua was the coolest person ever, and Quartz was always wanting to play with him, or talk about the relative merits of various Nerf guns, or talk about Legos or whatever.  Joshua played with them pretty patiently, too.

Sapphire's favorite buddy was my mom.  Sapphire's pretty used to doing her own thing, but once she found out she could cry a little and grandma would pick her up and entertain her and read her books and walk with her -- well, they were pretty inseparable.  By the end of the trip, if I was holding Sapphire and Grandma walked by, Sapphire would reach out to be held by Grandma.  :-)

We went to the Academy of Sciences on Tuesday -- luckily my parents are members so we could get in early before the big rush.  The old Academy of Sciences was one of my favorite places.  It's very different now -- very modern, with lots of ecological exhibits and things.  It's very trendy and sleek, but I kind of miss the big roundabout, the old Africa animals, and the gemstone exhibit.  Though, the simulated rainforest was pretty cool -- especially the tiny poison dart frogs and giant macaws.  Lance was a great buddy to Quartz, following him around everywhere and reading displays to him and keeping track of him so I could focus on Onyx.

On Wednesday we met my grandparents in Sacramento at the train museum!  The coolest part was going on an old Pullman car train and a dining car -- made me want to write a mystery party that takes place on a 1940s train or something.  Quartz and Onyx were chasing Joshua all over and trying to tackle him or something -- Onyx even grabbed my grandpa's legs (something he was not really expecting), but it was pretty cute, actually.  Everyone was such a good sport.

Then, on New Year's Eve Day, we headed over to Muir Woods for a splendid hike in the redwoods.  It was so damp, moss covered everything and mushrooms sprouted from the ground, the dead trees, everything.  My favorite were some bright red shiny mushrooms that turned orange when they released their spores.  Brilliant!  Quartz and Onyx got tired, but luckily there were some piggy-back ride givers on hand.  Sapphire likes her new hat.  Afterwards, we had a picnic at Muir beach (nice and NOT crowded), where Wes and I found some great rocks for rock tumbling, Quartz dug a hole as far as his arm would reach, Onyx found beach treasures, and Sapphire reveled in the glorious messiness that is sand.

But, lest you think we only went on trips, we also had plenty of time to hang out.  And with not one, but TWO animated book readers, I even had time for a game of Magic: The Gathering with my siblings.  AND we had time to see the Sherlock Holmes movie.  I thought it was pretty faithful to the original, while having more action for modern sensibilities (or lack thereof).  My parents also threw a rockin' New Year's Eve party, where they learned not to let Kim and I be on the same team for Taboo or anything involving guessing what the other person is trying to convey.  There was also some great poetry, as people tried, but never quite succeeded, to emulate my dad's oft-imitated, never-duplicated poetry style.

AND now we're back.  After driving so long at 79mph on I-40, driving in the city feels excruciatingly slow.  And Albuquerque feels quite cold.  And, while I love being back at my own house, it also means I have my own chores to do.

Lastly, here's a few priceless exchanges between the boys:
Onyx: I have gas.
Quartz: Thanks for letting mom know.

Onyx: Dag, dag, dag! ::pokes air with dagger::
Quartz: Daggers don't dag.  They stab.