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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

S3 Day

Today we were doomed to get an ice storm.
The teachers told the boys to prepare for it.
We worried and stressed over it.
I changed S3's dentist appointment because of it.

It rained.
We didn't even have a two hour delay.
S3 and I reclaimed his dentist appointment.

S3 was thrilled he had the day off of school.  A cavity to be filled was never looked forward to with such joy.  His brothers, on the other hand, thought it was totally unfair and sort of wished they had a cavity too.

Every day S3 runs around the house annoying his brothers, getting them in trouble, shrieking in laughter and silliness.  The moment he gets away from his brothers he is all kind and quiet, he runs to open the door for me and hardly says words to me.

Because it is a rare day indeed I only have one of my four boys with me, I try to make it special.  I could just drive to the dentist and then right back home again, but why not live it up if we are in the city anyhow?

After the dentist, we drove to Target to look for summer shoes for him.  He was happy to find a pair and discuss with me the pros of his new stylish shoes.

Then I found these shoes for a mere $29.99.
 S3 assured me I should purchase them.  I forwent it to purchase gas for the suburban instead.  It made me quite sad.  But I think I may have found an even better pair at Sears (on line, because I couldn't get these shoes out of my mind.) 

But after shopping we visited Starbucks in the Target (such brilliance there) were I told my coffee drinking son I would get him his own Starbucks coffee.  He chose a strawberry shake drink.  I tried not to gag as I ordered my coffee.  S3 then kept close watch to see how to make delicious coffee.  I told him it would be quite alright with me if he learned to make barista yummy coffee.
 He just looked at me like I was crazy.

We had to visit Staples, where I found a fonts program and cheered a bit in the store (although I did not purchase it) and S3 then knew I was crazy.  
 I made it up to him by buying him a calculator.  He loves calculators, it's so crazy and cute. This one bends a million ways and looks all retro and he was thrilled with it and a package of pencils that looks like money.

I told him I would take him to lunch and he chose McDonald's.  I told him he could pick something new if he wanted and he chose here....
 And I knew he was the brilliant child I knew him to be.

He could not figure out why on earth they would toss peanuts on the ground but was rather thrilled with the fact he was going to eat STEAK for lunch.  I love his grin....
He ate every piece with the toothpick that said "medium".  He thought they were brilliant to serve the steak with a plastic toothpick.  I asked him about school and tried to treat him as grown up as possible.  He had a great time. I had a great time!

Special shout out to, Mario, our server at Logan's who was about as kind and nice as could be.  When S3 left his calculator behind, he flagged us down to return it.  And that was after he was as kind as could be, keeping us well fed and filling my iced tea about a zillion times. 

After lunch we drove home and he told me he would really like to do one more thing with me since it was just him and me.

Melt. My. Heart.

We played Blokus. He and I throughly enjoy this game and it was fun to play it with just him.  When the games were done, he curled up on the couch to watch a movie in the short amount of time before his brothers arrived home.

A great day.  A day I don't think we'll ever forget.  I am so glad we didn't get an ice storm and he had a cavity!  However, I should just take a day with one of my boys on a regular basis so they don't all try to get a cavity to get a day with mom.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Michigan Vote Day

Today is Primary Vote Day in Michigan.

We have been BOMBARDED with calls.  When I say BOMBARDED I mean as soon as the phone stops ringing and we do the whole "seriously" look, it rings again.  Sometimes the phone is still in our hand.

It has been driving us insane.

But if it's time to vote, I vote.  I figure if all my ancestors can fight for my freedom and right to vote, then I can surely drive ten minutes away and color in a dot.

The boys have been asking us a lot of questions about voting so when I got out of work today, I took the boys with me to see the thrilling voting process.



Last time we went to vote, S4 thought we were headed out to buy a BOAT.  He asked me for days later where our boat was and why we didn't get one and remind me how great a boat would be.

I really didn't think anything could top that.  Especially now, that the boys are older.

But oh no, S4 pulled a new one on me.

"I know who you will vote for, Moma," he told me from his booster seat in the back.

"Who?" I asked, surprised.

"Taylor Swift.  You'll vote for Taylor Swift, won't you?"

S1, in the front with me, began to grin.  "What makes you say that, hon?" I asked S4 sweetly.

"Because, you like all her songs so I know you will vote for her."




(people are always telling me this song reminds them of me)

S1 wanted to come back with a smart remark but I gave him a look.  This was too funny.

"My blog post is forming now," I whispered to S1.

So here it is....

Taylor Swift totally gets my vote. :)

How To Help Your Kids Do Well In School

This morning, my friend Sue spoke on How to Help Your Kids Do Well In School on the radio station Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook.  She talks on a different subject every week in her radio spot of The Real Moms of West Michigan.  You can catch her on Tuesday mornings around 7am...right about the time that things are crazy in your house, I know.  But still, try to catch her if you can.

She and I had talked about this subject and I heard what she had to say and I thought she had some great points.  You can read her post she wrote on the subject HERE.

I have been going through this a lot lately with the boys.

S1 has had an overload of homework this year.  Seriously tough stuff, hours worth of homework.  As you are all well aware, we live in a small farmhouse with lots of "oddities" in it.  You know, that stuff that makes an old house unique but no way would you ever do it that way in a new house because WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!

Yah, that.

Well, the boys rooms are just plain weird.  You walk into S3 and S4's room to get into S1 and S2's room.

S1 would shut the door to his room and then he would get cold because the wood heat vent wouldn't reach him.  He would come downstairs and get distracted at the dining room table - the hub of our family everythings - so we were sorta at a loss.

Then I thought of our landing upstairs.

S1 helped me and together we put together a little study for him.  Is the landing ideal?  Not really.  Does it work?  Oh yah!  It's his own little space that he can sit at and do his homework.  When his brothers go to sleep, they always keep the landing light on to see on their way down the steps so when S1 is sitting there working on homework, it doesn't bother them a bit.

He feels rather grown up of his little space that is all his own.  He's decorated it a bit and takes pride in the landing study.  It's never stayed so clean!

The other issue we have had in school this year is S3.

S3 keeps forgetting.

He forgets his glasses and then he can't see.  He forgets his homework, over and over and over again.  He forgets to bring home his reading.  He does his reading and forgets to take it to school.  He forgets his lunch.  He brings home a milk carton in his lunch on Friday and forgets it till Monday.  He remembers his lunch box and forgets he didn't pack anything in it.

I could keep going.

It literally makes me pull my hair out some mornings.  Okay, lots of mornings.  And evenings.

We took away tv.  We took away his leapster.  And when we did, he had no motivation to do well so believe it or not, he forgot even more!

I didn't think that was possible.

So, in order for us to keep our sanity - and get him out of the second grade - I bribed him.

Yes, I did.

I told him if he remembered his full lunch, his glasses, his homework, his book, etc, for FOUR weeks, he would get a new game for his leapster.

I have never seen a more motivated kid.  In fact, after agreeing to this arrangement, he immediately put on his glasses to make sure he didn't forget them for school the next day. With something to focus on and work for, the child is shining.  He scored five out of five on his reading test.  I literally did a dance of joy.

It's not perfect.  It's not the same for each boy.  I have just boys and they all learn so differently.  Where S1 needs silence and to be left alone to study, S3 can be in total chaos and stay on task.

I think that's the key.

Teaching each kid the way they are meant to be taught.

Is that easy?  No. Way.

It's time consuming and makes you go a little insane.

Especially if you have a S4 who asks allllllllllllllllllllll day long, "How do you spell 'hi'?  What is 1-1?  What is 7 times 20? Did I make this right? Are you sure you know the answer?"


All.  Day.  Long.

But if you find something that works for your kids, work it!  Keep in mind, however, that you need to be willing to change it.

And that is my two cents worth for the day.

Now, be sure to read Sue's blog on this.  And don't forget to tune in and hear her!  iHeart radio is a handy little link that keeps us all on the same page here.  Can't beat that!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What NOT to Wear

If you are boy/man...do not read this.

It will make absolutely no sense to you at all.

It will make women look silly.  I can't have that.

Women....read on.

I meant to take a picture for you of the outfit with the issue and the problems I had today, but I needed comfy jeans on just as soon as I walked in the door.

And I love you all, but I couldn't put that outfit on again.

Let me start at the beginning....

Yesterday it was sunny and warm and brilliant spring like.  Grand weather.  Today it snowed.  Not much, but the snow turned to drizzle and ick.  Today was also my day to work and I am just tired of wearing corduroy pants every time it is cold out so I decided to wear my favorite long jean skirt.

I found this jean skirt at Goodwill and it has never fit great but I love it so much I can't give it up.  It has the slit in the front and I find that all retro and cool looking but it is cold out, remember, so I had to wear tights.

The tights I own I bought the year S1 turned one.

I'll let you think on that.  

Yes, you are correct.  The tights are over eleven years old.

I purchased them from L.L. Bean.  Their tights just don't wear out.  I keep waiting for them to get a hole or a snag or something but the keep holding in there for me.

The only thing that is wrong with them is that the elastic is gone in the waist.

This sorta causes a problem but since the tights go with EVERYTHING I usually can improvise to pull off the look.  Today I decided to wear the tights with my spanx.

I just recently became the owner of a pair of spanx.  I bought this AMAZING black dress this winter and it needed a little help.  So Morg went out and purchased me my first pair of spanx.  She was also in awe I have never owned a pair.

So, I pulled on the spanx shorts, pulled on the tights, tucked the tights into the spanx.  I buttoned the skirt and pulled on my tall knee high boots I love so much.  I looked in the mirror.

I looked good.

Well, as long as I didn't walk too fast because you could see the spanx under my tights.  Remember I mentioned the slit was in the front of the skirt?  That meant that knee length spanx were longer than the above the knee slit.

But...really, who would notice?

So I took off for work...and when I sat I realized I may have a little issue.

The spanx totally would show!  At this point I was on my way to work and there was nothing to do about it and I was thankful for a desk with a big computer hiding me from patrons.

I arrived at work not wearing the same outfit as Alicia.  We often unintentionally dress the same.  We did, however, both wear our hair in a pony tail.  Since I really can't recall a time I wore my hair in a high pony tail at work this really made me giggle...and there is no point in telling you this.  I just had to share it.

It soon became apparent that the tights were not staying tucked into the spanx.  If my tights weren't staying tucked in, then I get that whole penguin feeling where the tights are falling and I can't walk.

Also, I kept having problems with my spanx.  They were super high in the back and not as high in the front and I could tell, this day was going down as a fashion mess.

When I went to go pee later, I noticed what a problem I had.

I had put my spanx on backwards.

I debated a moment, but really, what was there to do?  I had to take off my boots, take off my tights, take off my spanx, switch the spanx around, put on the tights, tuck the tights into the spanx, put on the boots and hope I looked okay.

The effort had me nearly sweating I was so hot and that made me think - again - how I need to get walking again because I can't run for fear of falling.

Seriously, if I fall and hurt myself, how is this family going to function?  They aren't.  So I don't run.

I think I just need new tights.

Anyhow, I tried to breeze back out of the bathroom and not appear all hot and disheveled but I don't think I did a great job at that.

I went back to work but now my problem was the spanx were higher in the front than the tights.  I had yanked the spanx up high on my legs so that they didn't show but now they were cutting off the circulation to my legs.  Seriously, digging into my nonwalked, unrunning thighs.  The spanx would fold over and I would suddenly have this weird looking fat roll on my tummy.

Sausage popped into my head as reference.

And anyone could see the weird looking fat roll because I had to take my sweater off from being so hot from changing so fast.

Because the spanx were so high my tights, of course, would not stay tucked in either so I was constantly trying to hitch them back up.  There is NO graceful way of doing this.

So at the end of the day I peeled off the clothes and put on my comfy jeans and sneakers and said, "I have to blog this."

Now you all know what not to do.  You are welcome.


Monday, February 20, 2012

What's the Difference Between a Dress and a Skirt?

Welcome to Monday....the day that was beautiful and sunny and has left me exhausted on my feet.

Okay, technically I am sitting to type so just sum it up to say I am exhausted.

BUT, I get to type this little post to you because my dishwasher is FIXED.

Did you hear cheering today?  That was me.

I had to take a moment to share some funny moments from yesterday.

My husband was feeling relief at not having a daughter after seeing his niece in a short dress for some school dance thing she went to.  Keep in mind, his niece is six foot at fifteen...the girl is model material...and he was relieved to not be the dad to see his daughter in a grown up dress.

"When I told her her skirt was too short, she told me it was a dress.  How could that be a dress?" He asked me.

"Because it was a dress," I answered simply, giggling at his adorable worry over his niece.

Silence from him (odd) and then, "What's the difference between a dress and a skirt?  A skirt is shorter, right?"

I nearly died laughing.

He seriously had NO idea.

The boys weren't sure either...but S1 figured it out.  "A dress covers all of you, a skirt doesn't," he finally said.

My husband is still not sure that I know for sure that that's the difference.  He's pretty sure a dress is something that goes below your knees and a skirt is short.

Our pastor's wife suggested I buy one of each to show him...I thought this was a rather brilliant idea.

Later, that same morning, the boys were watching CMT videos and this song came on.....


I super like this song for so many reasons.

One of them being I used to drive a 1972 four door metallic red nova with white interior.  (A moment of silence as I recall how it slaughtered a deer and did not survive....)

Anyhow, this is a GREAT song and I super like it muchly.

(Notice how badly I am rambling...I forewarned you I am exhausted!)

S4, who was listening intently, asked his Daddy how someone could roll their eyes.

"You look up and all the other person can see is the white of your eyes...." Jake could see S4 was not catching on so he said, "Just go ask your mama...she knows how to do it really well."

Do you know how hard it was for me not to roll my eyes at that?

For the rest of the morning the boys were walking around practicing rolling their eyes.

Great.

S2 has it mastered with the disgusted shake of his head and all.

And that was my Sunday morning for you all....just the Sunday morning.  Yup, barrels of laughs here all the time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Need to Get ReMarried

Recently, I awoke to realize that I had not washed the bowls from the soup we had eaten the night before.  "Great," I groaned as I turned on the dishwasher, "What will I do for cereal bowls this morning?"

"Too bad they don't have some great plastic ones we could have on hand for days like this," my husband offered as advice.

"OR," I began dramatically, "We could own enough bowls that we could have soup the for dinner and still have enough bowls for cereal in the morning!"

This conversation made me realize I really need to get remarried.

I would appreciate a wedding shower now more than I ever did when we got married.  I would pick the practical things that I know I'll use for forever, and pick out the big splurges that I didn't even know about before.

This year Jake and I will have been married for 15 years.

If you look around our house, you can tell we have been married for 15 years.

When our towels were well worn out, my hubby sent me to goodwill to see what I would find.  I am not a fan of buying USED bath towels, but I found one and bought this towel that (at the time) looked as if it had never been used.

 It's been used a lot since.  But, really, who else but a new bride would get the name "Jake" embroidered IN PINK on a bath towel?  I think that Jake might have not appreciated the gesture.  My Jake, on the other hand, has used it nearly to threadbare.

I used to have all matching towels.  Then I just bought what was on sale and then used colors that would hide dirt well.  But I could never keep up laundry and this year I just totally gave up and threw our beach towels in with the bath towels.  Come summer I'll need all new bath towels along with all new beach towels.

 Dishes.

Oh my.  These are my dishes....
 The green plates (there are two missing from this picture) are the plates my mom didn't like and got rid of - to me.  The white plates I scored at a garage sale.  The blue ridged wavy edged plates Korene got for me - she went to a garage sale and found the plates (and the white bowls you see on the shelf above) and told the lady how her friend has FOUR boys and only six cereal bowls and the woman felt so badly for me she GAVE the dishes to Kor to give to me.  I have two plates left of my wedding dishes.  Jake bought me the yellow plate and the yellow bowl (and a yellow mug) for Christmas one year.  

The plastic bowls used to be great in number, this is what we have left.  And the red one can only be filled half full. It has a crack half way down the side.  The green rimmed bowl is the ONLY one left from my wedding dishes.

My cupboard shelf is held up with.....
 A container of peanuts.

Seriously, people. 

And there are many times a week I'll think, "You know, peanuts sound kinda good right now." But I can't take them from the cupboard, the whole thing would come crashing down then, I am sure.

And now lets move on to pot holders......
These are my best.

(ohhhh, see my yellow mug with coffee in it and my french press? okay, back to the post.)

The camouflage one someone made and gave to the church.  The church let the kids dig through the donations to find gifts for their parents and S4 came home with the pot holder.  He beams when I use it -which is all the time - and is thrilled he has given me my nicest pot holder.

I'll spare you my kitchen towels.

They would give you nightmares.  And you know they must because the pot holders are scary enough.

Don't get me wrong, I am blessed beyond blessed.

But in a month when your vacuum breaks and you have to borrow your friends emergency vacuum, your dishwasher breaks beyond repair, you use a beach towel for your kitchen towel, your sons only winter boots break and you have to buy another pair on the same week you realize that the limping along with groceries you have been doing isn't cutting it because you are out of everything......

It's times like that you just have to laugh.

And dream of what you would pick out NOW that you know better and are wiser and appreciate wonderful kitchen and bath things.

When you dream of pillows that aren't resown together with pink string for the upteenth time and your blankets don't have holes in them that you get your legs and arms stuck in in the middle of the night.

I thought all about this for quite some time now and told my hubby I was going to write this blog post.  I told him I was going to tell everyone I needed to get remarried.  Then I gave him a kiss on his scruffy cheek and said, "But don't worry a bit, I'd only remarry you."

Anyone with me on this? Don't you wish you could have a wedding shower NOW?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Tupperware Party

Today I had a Tupperware Party at my house.

It felt very 1960's-ish to say that out loud. "I am having a tupperware party, please come out to the house at 9:59 am."

I had a party just to get THIS......
I had one before and it broke.

It is one of the only things my husband looked at me and said, "I don't care how much this thing is, buy a new one."

Those of you who know my husband know he does NOT say things like this.

We use this chopper for salsa the most - mmmmmmmm, fresh salsa in the summer! - but also for zucchini for zucchini bread, diced itty bitty so the boys don't taste them onions, making jam.....

I use it ALL the time.

So Sandy suggested I just have a party to see if I could get it for free and a Tupperware party just sounded....retro.

I do not like to have parties...at all...so this was rather surprising I would even agree to such a get together. Add to that that I don't even know Sandy (the hostess), everyone was really even more surprised.  But as the party came closer and closer, I got more and more excited.  I made lists and lists of possible foods for the party.

I wanted lots of friends to come....

For the simple reason I wanted them to be here at the house with me.

I honestly didn't care if a single one of them bought anything - and thank you greatly to all who did because thanks to you I'll get my chopper at a discounted, if not free, price - but I was just so happy to have everyone here.

I was going to take pictures of us all.......and forgot.

Totally bummed about that.

Today was all about spoiling my friends with any food I could think that would be spoil worthy.  I made princess punch (found on pinterest...which rocks), pots de creme via the Pioneer Woman, Krusteaz cranberry orange muffins with added white chocolate chips, lemon bars and had a dish of fruit and fruit dip (the good fruit dip, with marshmallow creme).

It made me think I should have a party with just my friends and good food sometime.  It is SUCH fun.  And a party like that, that would be a little 1960's-ish, don't you think?  Sometimes, in the fun and convenience of facebook, twitter, email, passing each other quickly...we miss the friendship.

And the friendship...that's what helps make life so sweet.

Home Front Audio

Did you read my post about the book Home Front?  

You can read the post HERE.

To say I loved this book would be an understatement.  If you read ONE book this year, I really think it should be this one.  It's that good.

Well, I have just been sent the audio for the book.  The whole first chapter is available for you to listen to. 

So, if you think you can't take the time to read the book, you should listen to it.

It's a DO NOT MISS book.  

Listen here to the a scene from the beginning of the book, where you get the idea of how Jolene and Michael's marriage was fraying.  I found myself instantly back in the book, pulled in.  I wanted to read it again hearing this.

I should just buy it!

YOU buy it, or check it out at the library (like I did) or order the audio.

JUST GET IT!



(click the words above to listen)

They Thought They Would Pull a Fast One

So they wore the same shirt to school.
They giggled at the brilliance of this.

Of course, one of them went to school in glasses.

And neither of them are in the same class.

But the sheer brilliance of this!

They giggled all day long.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wall of Love

It's Valentine's Day.

The day where love is in the air.

But I don't have to think back long to recall a bunch of happy memories with my honey.

I only need to wake up and look at our bedroom wall.

To our wall of love.


It started as a Christmas present to him a few years back and just has sort of grown to this.  I have two new frames already purchased.  Every photo holds a memory.  The picture in the top left is when I first found out I was pregnant with S2, the latest picture of us is in the not full frame closest to you on the right.

My husband does not believe in Valentine's Day.  He informs me it is a made up day by Hallmark.

I know it's not, he knows it's not, but he refuses to celebrate it much.

Today I will be surprising the boys with a special dinner and a cake FROM THE BAKERY.  That was  an interesting call. "Yes, I would like to order a Valentine's day cake."

"Would you like flowers and hearts on that?"

"I have all boys.  Don't make it girly or they won't eat it."

Yup, that's how I ordered it.

A friend made the all the four boys a duct tape wallet. Pictures will be coming of those, I can guarantee you.  I can't wait to see how excited they will be! 

It's day to celebrate those we love.
And I've got a bunch of boys here I love whole bunches.

I'm thankful for a day I have to tell them - again - just how much I love them.

And hubby, thanks for so many happy memories.
I can't wait to make a million more happy memories more with you!
I love you from the top of my blonde head to my (frozen) bare toes!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Monday

Sometimes, Monday's go like this.....

You wake up late to a head cold that has snot dripping from your nose.

It literally feels like your brain is draining through your nostrils. (nice mental image, huh?)

You wake up your boys and realize you are the mom who never knew you son slept behind the couch all night...

When you get out of the shower, you see your boys are no where near ready for school.

You blow your nose five times in the time it takes you to get dressed.

Your boys are still not dressed for school.  As in, underwear naked.

You loose your cool.

You make coffee...extra strong...and pray the cold medicine kicks in.

One of your sons wails he has not eaten breakfast and he can't find his socks and his shoes are missing and his back pack is still in the suburban where he left it Friday...and it's time for you to be leaving the house RIGHT NOW.

You loose your cool...again.

You barely make it to school.

You fall into the kitchen door of your home and make more coffee.

The medicine begins to kick in.

You get yourself prettied up a bit.

You meet with a friend for (more) coffee and share life.  You talk future plans and hobbies and connect and wish you could chat much more often as you munch on red velvet cookies with chocolate heart centers.

At the store you realize there are, in fact, enough custard filled donuts for you to get one for everyone in your family for an extra special breakfast tomorrow for Valentine's Day.  You have the cash on hand to spoil them this way. (And.....now you have an unhealthy breakfast for an on the run breakfast tomorrow morning on an already going to be sugary day.)

Upon arriving home, all your chickens greet you and make you smile.

You have fresh blueberries in you fridge for lunch.

Your husband calls just to say he loves you.

Yup, Monday's can be like that.






Overheard Conversations

The boys were having bonding time with their daddy.

He'd been gone most the night and all of the day plowing.  As he sat on the bed to plug in his phones, the boys bombarded him.  A huge pillow fight ensued.

As they ended up resting and chatting and catching up on their day for a little bit, S4 spoke up.  "Daddy, do you know why we love Moma so much?"

"Why's that?"

"Because she cooks good food," S4 informed him.

Husband laughed a bit and said, "Yup, that's the only reason we keep her around, too."

I am so outnumbered here.

But later as S4 was trying to tell me it was a good thing I was such a good cook, Husband just couldn't resist adding, "When we first got married, your mama couldn't even cook!"

S1's jaw dropped open.  He could not fathom such a thing.

It's true.

When we first got married I was young and didn't know a thing.  I am blessed with an amazing mom who made amazing food.  I imagined I would learn from osmoses, I guess.  It would just, you know, like, come to me naturally.

It didn't.

We lived on hamburger helper.

And that first year it worked kinda handy that we were walking distance to a Burger King and a pizza place in town served the biggest yummiest pizza's we had ever seen.

At some point that first year, I called my mom in tears and begged her for some sort of easy recipe to get me started on.

She told me how to make shepherd's pie and tuna noodle casserole.

To this day, my husband will not eat hamburger helper or tuna noodle.

To this day I only still make a few dishes regularly, but I know how to make those dishes pretty well.  But that the boys think I am great cook makes my heart feel all warm...even if hubs says that is the only reason he keeps me around and then reminds me of how awful of a cook I used to be.

Sheesh.

I feel EVER so loved.

Here is the recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole...a favorite for everyone (ultimate comfort food) except my husband who turns up his nose at this to eat at McDonald's. (Pics of us eating this HERE)

Tuna Noodle Casserole

A bag of wide egg noodles (elbow macaroni works too)
Family size can of cream of mushroom soup (may need a small can as well)
Sour Cream
2 Cans of tuna
1 can of peas
cheddar cheese

Boil the noodles until cooked.  Add the tuna, peas and soup.  Add a good dollop of sour cream. Add more sour cream or soup as needed to make sure the mixture is creamy.  If you are a fan of cheese (we are), add a little shredded cheese and stir it in.

Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly (an hour maybe?)

Top with cheese and return to oven to melt cheese.

Serve.

We like it with rolls or bread and peanut butter - applesauce and milk to drink makes this taste extra good for whatever reason.

Enjoy!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Home Front by Kristin Hannah


Home FrontHome Front by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been following Kristin Hannah on facebook and have been so excited about this book coming out.  I knew it was military themed and it dealt with marriage.  I don't like to know too much about a book so I can form my own opinions as I read it.


I loved this book.


I have only ever read Night Road by Kristin Hannah and blogged my thoughts on that book.


This book will stick with me even more than Night Road did.


I have always been amazed at the military, I cry at every departure and homecoming of military on the news.  But this book took my heart as a mom, hit me with the reality of marriage and made me think of my friendships.


Because I don't want to spoil it for you, I'll just tell you to read it.  I don't know a single person who would not benefit from reading this book.


It's a book you'll read and never have to think back and say, "Did I read that one?"  No, this one etches it's words right into your very self.


Or at least it did for me.


View all my reviews

Reality Check! Life's A Gift...Really.

A friend of mine started a blog last year.  She blogged infrequently.  But in January she decided she would blog
Every
Day.

And every day she would mention something she was thankful for.

Even I felt a panic at blogging every day.

It's tough...as bloggers know!

But Kristi keeps at it, she blogs faithfully.  On Monday's she does catch up blogs...during the weekend she just does quick notes about what she'll blog about and then she writes them on Monday's.

Kristi is dear to me.

She calls it as she sees it and I appreciate that about her.  Our lives are different as she has two girls(...and they adore my boys.  It's soooo cute).  Her house is always insanely clean (she would disagree).  She plays sports...have I ever told you all just how UN-athletic I am?  Seriously.

But she and I share THIS in common, we fiercely love our families.

When we have a conversation, it always seems to be deep.  She knows how to cut past the chit chat to get to the heart of the matter and I appreciate this ever so much in her.

This summer she called me concerned about S1.  It was something we had missed and she caught it and cared enough to call me on it.

When she called me about blogging, she asked me some tough questions.

       Why did I blog?

                Where did I see it leading?

She asked me questions friends I have had forever haven't ever asked.  That conversation had a huge impact on me and I'm not even sure I have told her that.

Kristi lives across the field from me.  Literally.

I see her, like, a few times a year?  Hardly enough and pitifully sad considering how close we live.

Sadly, that is life, isn't it?

She is the friend whom I haven't seen in forever and can feel like it's been no time at all.

I love her to pieces.

And I think you all should check out her blog.  She is a mom of two girls in a unique situation with her husband who she is heads over heels in love with.  She lays it all out there.  You will love her honesty.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Pioneer Woman Makes Me a Cool Mom

Every Saturday morning at ten am you can find me in the same place.

My kitchen.

And I will be there with my Life Is Good coffee mug, filled with fresh coffee, sitting on my little red stool, watching the Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.

The Pioneer Woman makes me a cool mom.

I didn't expect that.

I have the Pioneer Woman's first cookbook (the image above is for her second book, out this spring.  You can pre-order it HERE.)

We have a few of her recipes that I make regularly for dinner and the boys like a lot.  But when they watch her show on the Food Network station with me on Saturdays, they think all her food looks good.

Last Saturday, Ree made Strawberry Jam.

Three boys turned to me and said, "Hey, WE make jam with you!"

I instantly became a cool mom.

The boys are quite certain that Ree and their Moma would get along grandly.

(I think I would have to agree with them on that.)

S2 is certain he would be an excellent rancher because he likes to wake up at insane hours of the morning. S3 is sure that Ree could use some boy help in the kitchen.  S4 just hopes to get to ride in a gator.  Or play football.  And eat lots of food.

I made something new for dinner the other day.  S3 looked at me and said, "Did the pioneer woman make this before?"

"I don't know," I answered, looking again at my well used Betty Crocker cookbook.

"Hmm," he answered.  I can interpet that for you. "Well, it won't be very good then."


This Saturday, we gathered in the kitchen again to watch it.

It's quickly becoming one of my most favorite times of the week.

Because of the Pioneer Woman, sure, but mostly 
because of the time with  my boys.

Have you read her book?
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
I HIGHLY recommend it.
I figured it would be good, it was even better than good.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Just Being Honest....

The other night, I sent my boys to bed at seven pm.

After a rough night with them I just needed them....to go to bed.

When I went to bed, I covered my head with my pillow and prayed for a better tomorrow.

It was only eight pm.

How do I go from waiting excitedly for them to get home from school to being exhausted and frazzled so quickly?

They had come home on a bright sun shiny day.  Beautiful weather.  The house was spotlessly clean.

I had waited for them to get here so we could make cookies.  The three youngest helped me mix them up and were super happy to eat some dough and fill the cookie sheets.

S1 was out checking his trap line and couldn't wait to get in to get a warm cookie from the oven.

An idyllic wonderful day.  A blog post was forming already in my head....

But before these cookies were baked...which takes all of ten minutes...the boys had run off to play.

But instead of playing, they were already squealing.  "Stop!"
                  "I'm gonna tell!"
                                  "Mooooooooooooooooma...."

It went down hill fast.

By the time dinner was on the table, I was fried.  I had helped with three boys homework, read two books to the youngest son, walked into the living room to find I couldn't even see the floor anymore so I just walked out, the dishwasher chose that night to break - completely - and my husband claimed I was in a "grouchy mood."

And I was.

I had just turned into mean mom and hollered to "clean up the living room.!"

               "Just don't speak to your brother!"

                                   "I TOLD YOU to SET THE TABLE!"

And so they were sent to bed at seven.

I knew S1 still would be up doing homework but I didn't stay up with him.  I didn't care when I heard S3 and S4 running across the upstairs floor or coming down for the fifth drink of water and sixth pee.

I just covered my head with my pillow and pretended to sleep. I prayed tomorrow would be better.

I love my life to pieces, you all know this.

But there are times when my stress level, on a scale of 1 to 10, is high.  The last couple of weeks it's at about a nine.  And while I still find lots of reasons to find the silliness in the mundane...I thought I would just throw this out there to you all.

I'm just being honest.

Sometimes, being a wife and mom is tough.

Anyone else out there know what I mean?


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mom's Rock

I read this today.

I needed it.

Thought maybe some other mom would too.

The Mole That Came for Coffee

The other morning I woke up extra early.
Every once in a while I wake up at some insane hour and find it pointless to fall back asleep.
Because I won't fall asleep till about six am.
Which is when I should be getting up anyhow.

So this morning I decided I would make some coffee and
drink it in bed.

I never do this.

But it was so cold that morning.
And it sounded like the ultimate luxury.

I poured my coffee in my mug and went to the fridge to get the creamer.

But there, at the corner of the fridge, was something.

Something trying to desperately dig it's way under my fridge.

A mole.

I was so stunned I dropped the creamer in my hand.

It missed the mole.

How a mole got into the house is a mystery.

My theory?
He wanted some coffee.

He didn't get any.

I picked him up and let him go outside.
 But first I took a picture to show the boys.

S4's question when seeing this photo later in the morning?
"Why didn't you paint your nails, Moma?'

Yes, that was so my first concern when picking up a baby mole.

After letting the little thing go and then scrubbing my hands a zillion times, I crawled back in bed with my coffee.
I haven't gotten up early any morning since.

It seems...rather dangerous...to wake up early here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Blast From My Childhood

I think I have told you all before...but we have this super duper extremely old ancient farmhouse.

It's so old, they added electric AFTER the fact.

And....apparently they didn't think that electric would catch on.  Because some rooms in our house didn't even have an electric outlet.

At all.

But I digress.

One room works in my favor though.  It's so tiny it could fit a single bed and one skinny chest of drawers.  And that's it.  It has beautiful, girly ancient old yellow wallpaper that I can't even wash anymore because it will just wash off if I do wash it...or get it wet.

 But, it fits a little desk and hides my stacks of books really well.

I have a lot of books.  Sometimes I wonder if I have issues.

I haven't been in this room in forever.  I drop some stuff and move on.  It hides Christmas presents.  I can usually find just what I need anytime because I am the only one who goes in there.

But on one snowy Sunday, with my husband off plowing snow and the boys supposedly cleaning their room, I took on the job of cleaning my little room.

The boys entered in awe...checking over all sorts of girl treasures.  

Why would Moma want teacups?
     Who are the people in the pictures?
            Why does Moma have a picture of someone kissing? (Gross!)
                   Moma has really old, like really old, ugly dolls.


 I tried to explain this is Strawberry Shortcake, my dear favorite doll.  I remember the Christmas I got her.  She still has the bald spot on the back of her head where my brother burned her hair on my family's woodstove.

My parents cleaned out their attic about two summers ago and gave me a crate of my "treasures".  What do you do with the treasures??? I ended up putting a few up on a bookshelf...

 ...because what else do you do with "treasures"????

Sadly, I put Strawberry Shortcake with my Cabbage Patch in Storage.  For, I guess, my GRANDdaughter to play with one day.

Maybe I really do have issues.

Anyhow, the room is clean.  I'll spare you the humiliating details of how much dust I cleaned out of here, or how long it took me, but the end result made me smile....
And I honestly cannot wait to get in there and write and write and write and write.

(PS the pink phone? Okay, I just couldn't put it in storage.  It's some plastic thing but I always said 'when I grow up, I'll have a pink phone like in the old movies.'  That, obviously, hasn't happened yet, so the plastic one is sitting there.  My boys think I may have in fact gone crazy from the winter....)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Snakes in February

We live in Michigan.

Normally this time of the year we have knee high snow and zero degree weather.

Not lately.

And, because you all know how much I love spring and beach days and summer,
you should be able to guess how much I have been liking the great weather.

But not so much when I see this......
 Yes, a snake in FEBRUARY.

And it wasn't even lethargic looking.  It BIT my husband...but he had gloves on...and garter snakes don't normally do things like that.

This...this thrills me.  All these pictures and this VIDEO are taken from my amazingly wonderful iphone that my hunky hubby got for me.  And it posted on my blog.  I literally squealed for joy.

But then when you see it's a snake you will squeal, in fear, I believe.
 I thought I was taking a photo at first and didn't realize it was on video.
But you get the idea.
The boys are thrilled over a snake.
I am not.
 As I am sure you can imagine, the boys wanted to keep the snake as a pet.
Thankfully, it's too cold to begin keeping them in the water trough they keep for a "snake habitat" in the sandbox mere steps away from my dining room window where I sit at the computer.

That's when the thought of keeping it in the house came to mind.
Their brilliant idea was soon abolished as they remembered they had a mama.
Oh, yah, her.
Who doesn't like snakes.

So they let it go.
Right next to the front porch.
Where it could curl up and hole up and live until spring.
In my front porch.
I may have seethed at my husband a bit at the thought that he did that to me.

Just being honest.

But the boys informed me today that Daddy just TOLD me he let it go there.
They actually let it go at the furtherest corner of the property.

Those boys of mine, they sure are sweet.
And must love their Moma a lot. 

One thing is for sure, though.
If February is bringing posts about snakes,
this year is sure to have a lot of posts about lots of "critters".
Lucky all of you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Because Hubs Said I Would....

My husband informed me that I would share this with all my blogging friends.

I said I would not.

And now I am.

Once again, he is correct.
     (And now he is framing this post.)

Sunday we went to church.  We haven't been there in forever because the boys have been sick and I refuse to leave the house if my husband has to plow.  I figure if he has to plow, we need to stay home.

Anyhow.

We have junior church duty.  We had all boys aged 7 to 5.  When I asked them what they could ask God to help them with, something they were having a tough time with, one little boys squeaked out, "I fart a lot.  Like, a whole lot.  I think God needs to help me not fart so much."

The boys agreed solemnly in unison.

It was a struggle they all had.

My supportive husband left the area laughing, I had to agree this was definitely something to ask prayer for.

We will be discussing this further next week.

Ya'll may need to pray for me on that one.

Apparently it was a great church service to miss because the congregation was feeling all convicted.  Husband felt we should get the cd from the service but ignorance seemed the perfect bliss to me.  I was okay to not feel convicted on my sunny Sunday.

I think we'll get the cd on Wednesday.

Apparently my husband is correct AGAIN and it's always good to grow.
     (He is for sure to frame this post now.  Two times I say he is right!)

I told you all that to tell you this....

Some of you may be shocked to know that at times....my boys can embarrass me.

And Sunday was one of those days.

Jake and I left the church to head for the suburban and round up some boys - any that wanted to go home with us, basically - and S4 seen us and began to wail.

Loudly.

And hold himself.

From clear across the parking lot, he began to yell in pain.

"I have to go number one and I can't hooooooooooold it!"

So what does my husband say?

"Here!  Just lean against the tire and pee here."

I, mortified, got in the suburban and sat down.

My now happy son climbed cheerfully into the vehicle.

My practical husband said, "Oh, you know you'll blog about this."

"Oh no", I said, "I don't think they need to know what redneck hillbillies we are.  Or rather, YOU are."

"You married me," Jake grinned.

This whole blog post makes me feel the need to shop for shoes.  High heeled girly ones.  

(And...all the labels were already in my list of blog post labels...pee, church, fart and embarrassing. Sigh. Welcome to my life.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day Blizzard






Last year, on this day, we had a blizzard.  I mean, a full out blizzard, not the kind that people just say was blizzardy and wasn't.

As soon as it began to snow the evening of the 1st, my husband the snowplower, made up a thermos of coffee, kissed us all goodbye and headed out.

We had no idea when he would be home.

We had no idea what the storm would bring.

You can tell in S2's face what we pretty much all felt like but only he acted on....dread.

In the morning, I made us the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls - we pretty much survived on those (and now I am hungry).  Knowing the weather was going to get bad, we had enough groceries stocked in the house to keep us feed and well for a week.

That meant a lot of coffee, folks.

When the sun came out and we felt brave, we went out to survey all the snow.  The boys had never seen so much snow.  All our previous snow piles were HUGE snow piles.  The rock garden in our turn around was completely buried.  The wind had shifted the snow around so much that in some places there was ankle deep snow and some places it was well over my knees.

We had a lot of fun taking pictures and the boys went sledding while I fed all our chickens and wild birds.

As the sun set and we headed in for the night, we still had no idea when we would see Daddy again.

It was Groundhog's Day, which is my Dad's favorite holiday and I have to admit, I'm a bit crazy about it too.  It means spring is so close...but this day spring felt like a million days away.



But then, suddenly, in the not too late evening, my husband came barreling up the driveway.


The boys cheered as they watched Daddy clear away the snow.  Daddy was HOME!!!!! He paused for a picture with the boys, cleaned out the rest of the driveway and our renter's drive and then literally fell exhausted into bed.

He was gone out plowing again in the morning before the boys and I even were awake.

I have a very hard working husband.

When my husband got home from that blizzard, I had the video camera going.  He never knew that we were taping, he couldn't hear what we were saying, and when he seen this later it literally brought tears to his eyes.

I often find him replaying this video.  It has to be one of his all time favorites.



Sorry for the weird way the pictures and words posted this time.
It's a glitch I cannot figure out so I just pushed publish.