Category Archives: Family

Happy New Year!!!!

I hope everyone had a safe, stress-free holiday season with family and friends.  As for me and mine it was fabulous.  I had a great Thanksgiving with my family, had family portraits taken the following week (and they turned out amazing), had Christmas dinner with my book club the next week, my annual “Girlfriends Dinner Party” the week after that, then finished up with Christmas Sunday brunch with my family the weekend before Christmas.  Christmas was just Stan, Babydoll, and I and the same went for New Years.  It’s something that we really enjoy, because it gives us the opportunity to do not much at all.  Of course I cook, but we don’t have to worry about someone coming over or having to be somewhere.   With all of the cooking and baking and cooking and baking and cooking and baking that I’ve done, I really need the break on the actual holidays. 

And to top it all off, we have finished with the basement.  When I say finished, I mean that we have done everything that was deemed necessary.  We still need to add the bar area,  but that is something that we have decided to think about a little more because it will have to be something custom due to space.  We have furniture (that has a story that I will tell later) and now Stan truly spends all of his free time down there.  He really is happy with the finished look.  I am too, but I’m able to play it a little cooler than him. 

Looking back over 2013, I think back on the projects that we worked on this year.  The basement was something that took a lot of our time.  It was basically a year long project, but we also had some backyard work done.  We spent well over a three weeks having a  the grass removed, having electrical installed and then laying out sod, rocks, and lights to make the backyard more polished. 

I will post tons of pictures and chronicle the process at a later time in a longer, picture-filled post.

This year I will be getting my long awaited kitchen remodel.  (sigh)  The thing with this remodel is that I need to have my budget very precise.  I will not be able to space it out like we did the basement.  I don’t want to spend months without a kitchen, my goal is to have a completed kitchen in three weeks.  Don’t laugh that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it.

Do you have any major home remodeling projects for this year?

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The thing that made for a bad flight

Hello,

We’ve been vacationing….Smile.  I took a few days off with my book club members to attend the annual Lori Foster Author/Reader Weekend and then came home on Sunday to fly out on Monday to go to Florida with Stan and my babydoll.  I had every intention of posting while away, even went so far as to pack my laptop and camera with cables for uploading my pictures.  But alas, I didn’t take one photo at the Lori Foster event and just couldn’t convince myself that posting was a relaxing experience while I had the time away from responsibilities. 

But now I’m on the plane returning home (with a lay over in Atlanta) and I just wanted to remark on my flying experience this trip. 

The flight down had all the trappings to equal a great flight.  We had a direct flight, it was at a decent time of day (early afternoon) so we had time to drop off the pets (my lovely Sasha-the Schnauzer and Leopard-the Gecko) run to the store to pick up a few things and still not feel super rushed.  I didn’t unpack my electronics bag from my Lori Foster trip so my carry-on bag was ready and I had pulled most of the clothes I was taking with me out prior to leaving for the first trip.  The problem came when we got on the plane.  I have long legs…I’m not super tall only 5’10”, but my legs are long…I have a 35/36 inch inseam.  I also have a crappy knee that will eventually have to be replaced, but I’m holding out as long as possible.  I don’t know what it was but I swear those seats seemed a lot closer together on that flight than normal.  My knee was killing me by the time the plane landed and that was with me sitting in the aisle seat AND trying to stretch it out most of the flight.  (I just extended my knee again).  I told my husband there has got to be a better way.  We are going to have to become millionaires so that we can have a private plane and I can stretch out these legs better.  I don’t even think first class had enough room.  And I didn’t even have on really high heels; they were only about 2-inches compared to the 5 that I have on today. Smile

We had a nice week together and our homtel was really nice.  I was going to post about the room (I may still post) but I forgot to take pictures of it.  We went through Bookit.com

Now the flight back home has been a different experience and  NOT in a good way.  First we had to leave at 6:10 am.  We thought we were leaving at 8:50.  I’m glad we checked at breakfast the day before.  Do you know what time you have to get up to catch a 6 am flight?  From the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area?  Stan set the alarm for 3:30.  AND the alarm never went off!  I’m a light sleeper and my mind and body knew that we had to wake early so I started waking up at 1:30 and then sleeping for half hour intervals.  I’m tired ya’ll but I can’t sleep.  Then we get go to check our bags and try to expedite matters by going to the kiosk to print our boarding passes ourselves.  Did you that you still have to go through the same kiosk process all over again to check the bags?  I really don’t like redundancy and backtracking and I had to suffer through it. Sad smile  We finally get to security and one of the TSA workers gives my daughter her boarding pass and says that she has to hold it.  They send us to the family line which also happens to be the same line the pilots go through.  Guess who has priority?  It sure isn’t the people that have infants, strollers, multiple children etc..  So every time a pilot had to go through we had to wait.  I saw four pilots go through security before one family made it through.  I am not knocking giving pilots priority; I’m knocking giving them priority in the line that already has a lot of factors that cause more time to be needed.  And having my babydoll hold her boarding pass was another mistake.  She almost left it on the ground when she removed her shoes and started putting her stuff in the bins.  You don’t give young kids there boarding pass, something they need to have to get on the dag-gone plane, and then send them through security where they are taking off stuff and putting stuff in bins and not expect them to forget them.  Some adults have problems with this.  Are you nuts?!?!?!? 

Now I’m going to tell you about the kicker of my flight.  The night before, we purchased a cup for the babydoll that had dolphins on it (we were in Florida so you figure right?) and it had a straw that you can bend into the cup.  I believe they are called Bubba.  I bought one first because I love having my cup of ice water with me all the time and this cup would allow me to have a snap closure and still have the straw.  Why do I need a straw?  So I don’t mess up my lipstick trying to drink from the cup.  My babydoll saw my cup and decided she wanted one for the trip home.  We found the dolphin theme and we had peace.  She put her water in her cup and we got it in her backpack.  Something told me putting the water in the cup first was a bad idea and I even suggested that she wait until later to place it in, but she said she was going to be drinking it and she wanted it there.  When we go through the scanner part the TSA worker holds up the bottle and ask if there is water in it.  I reply yes and she ask if it’s for baby formula.  We have no babies, so I reply no.  BIG MISTAKE.  I should have lied, but I suck at lying so I don’t do it.  She then tells me that I have to either throw it away OR be escorted out of the line to throw the water out then go through the security line again.  WHAT-THE-WHAT!?!?!?!?  Security lines in Florida are ALWAYS long.  Going back through the line would have been a nightmare and they weren’t going to let me cut even though I had already been through.  I asked the attendant to just throw the water out and give us the cup.  She couldn’t do that.  Why not?  She knew it was water just pitch it and give my baby her cup.  It was a no go people.  We opted to pitch the cup, which I know someone is going to take that cup home; and the tears started falling.  My babydoll stood there looking at the TSA workers and crying and we were hard press to get her to move.  No amount of we’ll get you another one could make it better.  Do you know how heartbreaking it is to see you child bawling and there is nothing you can do about it?  It was made particularly worse because it was just water.  In the past we have pitched a fit over them giving us a hard time about the babydolls drinks.  In the end we have always won, but this time we were just too tired to fight.  I’m angry that the government will let you bring a lighter onto a plane, but not a bottle of water.  Which is more dangerous?  Fire or water?  I had a bottled water that had not been opened and I had no problem with them pitching it; but kids cups are different.  They’re kids people and it’s WATER.  I have replayed about ten different scenarios in my head of how I should have handled the situation and all of them end up with my kid having her dag-gone cup and not crying her eyes swollen.  Stupid TSA/NSA and their wack-a-do water rules.  I just want us to be smarter as a nation.  IT”S WATER!!!!!!!!

The final straw to this horrible flight experience was when I went to pull out my headphones so that I could type this post and listen to more of book four in the Game of Thrones series – The Feast For Crows, and my headphones broke.  These were a new pair.  I tried to get something that wasn’t as big as my Skullcandy Hess (they are big and white and have great sound) and this is what happens.  They weren’t sturdy enough to make it through security.  I ‘m afraid of heights people…I need as many distractions on a plane as possible.  Flying is only tolerable for me if I have all my stuff to keep me distracted from the fact that I am this high up in the air.

So I’m sitting here on the first leg of my two-part flight without music or Feast For Crows to keep my mind occupied typing up my sucky flight rant.  I don’t know how closely they monitor blogs and I may get dinged/flagged; then again I may not.  But I’ll say it again if you can bring fire onto a plane then you should be able to bring a cup of water that isn’t purchased at the gate especially if you know it’s some kids water.  Water….really.

And I end this by asking you to tell me about your horrible flight experiences?  Has TSA ever made your kid cry?  What are your flying advice to make the experience smoother?   

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Menu 5/11/13

This week we are having (or had)…

Sunday: It was Mother’s Day…I wasn’t cooking

Monday: Soup & Sandwich day!!! – Cheeseburger soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Tuesday: Smoked Sausage Mac & Cheese with salads (fruit for Babydoll and lettuce for us)

Wednesday: Wings & Waffles (Sweet & Salty Chicken Wings & Sweet Potato Waffles)

Thursday: Breakfast Sausage Subs, Onion Straws, & Veggies

Friday: It’s a work Friday, everyman for himself

Saturday: We had playoff tickets…we ate bar food Smile

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And this week we’re having…

Although I haven’t been posting much lately, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything post worthy. I have. I’ve been taking pictures of things that I’ve been making, just haven’t had the time to actually tell you guys about it. I’m going to change that.

Also…I got several positive responses from you guys about my menu planning post, so I thought I would post my weekly menu. I make the menu every week, usually by Thursday, so I’ll try to post it on Friday. Although this week I did not do that because I didn’t figure out until today what type of soup we were having.  I did know I was baking the bread, just couldn’t figure out the soup (I hope to post about the soup and bread tomorrow or Wednesday.).

The way my menu works, whatever is listed on the Saturday slot (at the end of the week) is what I’m going to make on Saturday coming up. Which means Saturday is the first day of my week even though it’s listed last. I also leave some of the side dishes up for change, but I try to keep the main dish what I put down.  Here’s what I’m doing this week:

Sunday: Roasted Lemon Chicken, Green Peas, Steamed Rice, and Buttered Bread

Monday: Reuben Soup and Pumpernickel Raisin bread 

Tuesday: Quiche and Fruit Salad

Wednesday: Stuffed Chicken Breast, Buttered Noodles, and Corn

Thursday: Sloppy Joes, Fries and Applesauce

Friday: Fish (have a coupon for free dinners so we’ll use it Smile)

Saturday: Bacon Cheeseburgers and French Fries

I know we are having fries twice this week (actually more than twice if we get the fish dinners) but you have to keep in mind that Thursdays my Babydoll has ballet and we don’t get home until after 7; dinner has to be quick.  Also with us having had the cheeseburgers four days from the proposed next time, I think our body can handle it.  I will have been to the gym at least three times by then.  And finally, I may come up with a better option for fries with the sloppy joes. Smile 

What are you having for dinner this week?  Maybe I can get inspired and find an alternative to the fries.

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Menu planning anyone…

I believe I wrote a post about menu making sometime last year…I need to check to see. But a conversation with my mother the other day had me thinking that maybe I should go into more detail about the importance of menu planning.

My family is one of three (four if you include my Sasha Fierce puppy) and you would think that it would be easy to make sure that dinner is efficient and healthy. I’ve found that is not a correct assumption if you take into account that there are days when after school activities, homework and anything that pops up can make for a long evening (or take out/eating out) if planning isn’t done.

My mother was saying that she used to do a weekly menu when we were younger…we were a household of 6 (four children and 2 adults) and she was a stay-at-home mom off and on so a budget was important to her. Since it is just the two of them, she didn’t feel that a menu was something that she needed to do anymore. She just had a change of heart and we discussed our reasons for weekly menus.

1) A menu informs family members what to expect for dinner. How often have you heard, “what’s for dinner?” How often have you gotten home and scrambled to get dinner together because you forgot to pull something out of the freezer? I have a menu board hanging in my kitchen that has the menu for the week on it. When someone (usually Stan) asks “what’s for dinner?”, I just point in the direction of the board and say “what does it say?” Before I head out of the house for work, I look at the board to make sure I don’t have to pull anything out of the freezer; I also look the night before to make sure nothing need to come out the night before so that it can go in the crockpot.

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2) A menu is the best thing to use when making a grocery list. My grocery bill is about the same every week. I’m not too happy with the amount I spend…but this is more reflective of the fresh fruit, the request for “must have” items, and meat that I buy and not because I’m not being thrifty. Now if I didn’t have a menu that I made the grocery list from along with me, I think I would spend much more. Making a menu for the week allows me to go through my freezer and pantry ahead of time and make the most of my grocery budget. My mother came to this same conclusion. Also, using a menu with my grocery list keeps me from having to make mini stops to the grocery store during the week that always end up with me purchasing something other than what I came in the store for.

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3) Do you ever get tired of eating the same thing all the time? I do. Since I love to cook and am trying to raise a child that has a diverse palette; being able to mix up what is cooked is important to me. Having a menu allows me to do this. Oh sure, there are standard items that show up often enough (my baby doll loves her some chicken and waffles or brinner –breakfast for dinner), but having a menu helps me to space out the frequency of said items. There are some things that never change on my menu – Monday is soup & sandwiches, Thursdays is something really quick and easy due to a late night with ballet – but what I serve I try not to repeat them only once a month. Also having things posted on the menu board makes it easier to introduce new things. When the baby doll sees quinoa on the board and ask what it is, I can explain it and she has time to process it in her head and will be open to trying it. If I just put it on her plate I may get the frunched up face and “it looks disgusting”; I then spend most of dinner trying to get her to try it.

4) Nutrition anyone. My baby doll needs to have a diet that includes foods that make for healthy digestion. Making a menu lets me look at my dinner choices – sides and grains – and add things if I notice an imbalance. Also, I have recently begun watching my caloric intake (I’m not dieting, just being aware of what I eat) and menu planning helps me become more aware of what’s a good calorie food and what’s a bad one (of course, the homemade pound cake is good no matter how many calories it has. Smile).

So there’s the reasons why I feel making a menu each week each week. I’d love to hear your opinions on menus and if you use them.

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This year for Christmas…

Happy Friday Everyone,

I hope that you have had a blessed and wonderful Christmas week.  We started off the Christmas weekend/week hosting my families Christmas get-together.  Normally we have this on Christmas Eve, but Stan asked that we do it the Saturday before allowing us some extra last minute shopping time if we needed it on Christmas Eve.  I hadn’t planned on needing it, but an incident at a store on Sunday required me going out for a few hours on Christmas Eve; but more on that in a bit.

First, our Family Christmas get together.  I don’t know if I’ve stated this but I come from a family of six.  That’s me and my siblings make four and my parents are the other two of our six  When you add spouses and children, and newly children’s children (my oldest brothers daughter had a little girl in June) we are now at a total of 16-19 (depends on if the oldest is dating someone we’ve met and if she has offspring of her own).  We decided to have just my parents and their offspring for this event; but had to include my Aunt Bell because she’s Aunt Bell and really people she’s like another mother to us kids.  The way I feel about my Mom is the way I feel about my Aunt Bell.  Besides her daughter and grandson live out of town and I wasn’t sure if she would be able to make it home, so we had to make sure she was with family during the holidays.  We decided to have a non-traditional dinner (this was my husbands idea) and after my husband gave me an idea of what he wanted, I decided to make it into a theme.  So we had more of a Southern Christmas dinner of: Gumbo, Red Beans & Rice, Fried Fish (Catfish & Perch), Fried Chicken, Fried Corn, (I’m feeling like we had a lot of fried stuff because I’ve typed it three times Smile with tongue out), and Cheesy Garlic French Bread.  For dessert I made a Praline Cheesecake, Cherry Cobbler, and White Chocolate Raspberry Cake.  I realize now that I forgot to make the slaw.  I had nuts and chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels, and a homemade chipped beef cheese ball for snacks.  We had wine, soda, and Absolut w/cranberry juice to drink.  It was a great night all in all.  I love to see my mother open gifts as much as I do the kids, because she never expects anything and is always happily surprised.

For Christmas, it was just the three of us; Stan, myself and the babydoll.  We have always set in our household that babydoll gets gifts from Santa and Mom & Dad.  Santa’s gifts come unwrapped (because he has so many homes to visit he doesn’t have time to wrap) and the wrapped gifts come from Mom & Dad.  Since we now have multiple trees, Santa’s gifts go under the pink tree (think Pepto Bismol and not my purchase – Stan and his father thought it would be good for babydoll) and Mom & Dad’s gifts go under the real tree.  This year it was a little difficult decided which gifts “Santa” was giving because we wanted to give all of the “major” gifts (it was more like we wanted the hi-fives. I mean isn’t why parents do away with Santa?  They get tired of Santa getting the credit for everything.).  In the end we split it up evenly.  Babydoll was overjoyed with everything she received anyway regardless of who gave it to her.  Can I say that I really love my kid?  I mean even though she’s as sassy as they come and some days I want to shake her because of the grown stuff that comes out of her mouth; she’s a good kid.  She’s not spoiled like some only children can be and she does appreciate everything.  She completely understands if I say I don’t have the money for that right now or I refuse to pay an amount because it’s the asking price is unreal.  I have a good, well mannered, well behaved kid and I’m going to take a moment to pat myself on the back.  Later when I asked her what was the gift she was most surprised about, she said all of them.  Mind you she asked for most of the gifts that she received; but she was still surprised none the less.

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I didn’t take a lot of photos because I wanted more video of the gift opening.

Okay…back to Christmas.  It was great to see babydoll go from one gift to the next throughout the day.  It was great not having to rush to get dressed to be at someone’s home at a certain time for dinner (honestly folks I didn’t shower until around 2pm – I cooked breakfast and dinner in a nightgown and robe).  It was a really peaceful day. 

The next morning I was due to return to work.  Stan informed me right before bed that a blizzard was expected and he didn’t think I was going.  I got up that morning and it hadn’t started snowing yet, so I thought I’ll go in for at least a half day.  He stated telling me that I must be crazy to risk getting stuck out there and to forget it.  I watched the news weather (that was the news…the weather) and within the hour, the snow started coming down.  And boy did it come down.  Two hours later, we had significant accumulation and I had started doing laundry. 

My Sasha was in snow heaven.  She kept going to the door to be let out and then she just raced around the yard sticking her face in the snow and running hopping around.

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It was a wonderful five days.  Now it’s time to get ready for our New Years Eve/Day time.  We don’t have big party plans, we usually hang out at home eat some bar food on the eve night, go to sleep at 11:45 wake up at 12:15 say Happy New Year and are back asleep by 12:30 then sleep in until about 11 am.  We have a New Years dinner of Black Eyed Peas and Cabbage and Corned Beef for new year good luck and chillax watching movies. 

What about you?  Do you have big plans?

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Cork Vaca: Final Days

This is my last tidbits from our family vacation.  The last couple of days of our vacation were really laid back.  We hung out on the beach both days (I didn’t take my camera because I really wanted to chill-laxe.) and headed to the room for showers and our other outings around 4 or 5pm.  The first night we had dinner and then headed to one of the many Putt Putt golf courses.  Stan and the babydoll have played golf on many occasions so they went in with a so-called “advantage” over me. 

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Half-way through our 18 holes we realized that playing golf and putt-putt are two different things (I was in the lead by several putts). Smile with tongue out  My babydoll was really taking the game seriously through most of the game

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until the last couple of holes and then she announced she had to go tinkle.  At that point she decided that she would stop using her putter and use her hand as a putter. Smile  The 18th hole was my downfall and allowed my hubby to snatch victory from me by 4 putts (yes four…my ball kept going around the hole but not going in.).  Here’s his victory pose…

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luckily he is a genius with computers and not providing for his family on the runway.

You may be wondering why we had on sweaters and long-sleeves while in Myrtle Beach during the summer….it’s because it was downright chilly there.  I think the warmest it got was 85 during the hottest part of the day and that was when we were leaving.  We were extremely happy about the mild weather (and glad we weren’t home because it was averaging 100 degrees) it allowed us to be able to hang out at the beach and not feel like we were going to melt into the sand. 

For our night in SC we went to see the movie “Brave” – which was excellent – then spent some time at the boardwalk amusement park down the street from our hotel.  My babydoll spent a week asking for a bow & arrow and horse so that she could be Merida.  We didn’t respond to the request and we are happy to say that the request have died away. 

We awoke early (when I say we I mean me) and finished packing up everything, cleaned up the kitchen, and straightened up so that we could head out by 7am.  I wish I could say that the drive back was uneventful but that would be a total untruth.  We were delayed by 3 hours due to multiple accidents on the highway.  We couldn’t figure out why there were so many, but there were.

We finally walked into the house at 10:30-ish to the smell of doggy vomit.  YES, you read correctly I said doggy vomit.  My pup had been a little sick from the extreme heat and had the worst case of upset stomach that lasted for nearly a week.  My brother had reported that she had been a little sick a couple of times; but he said that she seemed to be doing well when he had left her that afternoon.  When we got home it was not the case….I ended up giving my pretty girl a bath at 11pm and rinsing out her crate in the dark.  The extreme heat had her messed up until last weekend. 

All-in-all our family vaca was really good.  We relaxed, visited a new place, had some good family bonding time, I worked on my camera skills, and most importantly…I was able to read three books and my family didn’t feel like I had ignored them to do it.

Now with school starting soon (the beginning of August for us) and the summer winding down soon, tell me about your vacations – planned or already spent.

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