Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our Weekend

I need to be in bed, so I'll make this quick.

Friday night: After dinner I built up my courage and went to the grocery store. Why did I need to build up my courage, you ask? Because I did my "once-a-month" shopping. I was doing this regularly this time last year, but then slacked off of it. This is my first month back doing this in quite some time. I had lots of coupons that could be doubled, and I had some coupons that were specifically for Kroger, so that's where I went. Before coupons my bill came to over $230, but after coupons it was less than $203! That was the bulk of my shopping.

Saturday morning: Beth and I left for MTW (Ministry Training Workshop)at our church at 7:30 am. They served us breakfast from 7:45 to 8:15, and then we had four different workshop sessions to sit in on. Each session started with a skit by our pastoral staff. Every year they spoof a movie or tv show. Last year was our first year going and they spoofed "Home Improvement." This year they spoofed the movie "Back to the Future." It was hilarious!

The theme of our workshop was Unity, and making decision that will effect the future of our church. It was a very timely theme as we are in the process of building a new sanctuary. Beth and I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. During the last session, instead of a speaker they gave us a tour of our new building. It will not be ready to move into until Easter, but we were able to stand in the sanctuary and see what it looks like. Our pastor told a funny story while we were waiting on everyone to file in, and his wife told him that would be remembered as his first "sermon" in the new building. We also had a question and answer session, and then we prayed and sang the Doxology. It was beautiful. After the 4th session we had a pizza lunch and a time of fellowship. It was great fun!

After MTW, Beth and I went to SAMS Club to finish my monthl shopping. I spent $118 (that included some flourescent lightbulbs and a huge bag of catfood). So my total spending for the month was $320. I know I'll have to purchase perishable items and milk and eggs, but I should stay under $400 for the entire month. My goal is $100 a week (including pet stuff, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.) so it looks like I may make it.

In case your wondering what the benefit of monthly shopping is, this is what I've found. When I walk into Walmart once or twice a week for food, I end up making impulse purchases. I spend much more money on groceries that way, than if I do a once a month trip. It's a little time consuming to make a monthly menu and food list, but it's worth it! Plus, for an entire month I don't have to ask myself "what am I going to cook tonight?" I just have to look at my calendar on the refrigerator and say "Oh, tonight is chili night." Pretty nice!

Today was a pretty normal Sunday. We went to church this morning and then rushed on home for lunch. Neal took a hunter safety class Saturday and Sunday and I had to get him fed before he went to his 1:00 class. I took a nice, long nap this afternoon, and then went back to church tonight. After church I met a friend at Barnes and Noble for coffee and then took Ben to McDonald's after that. Beth was at an "After Glow" with her youth group, so I had to kill time until I could pick her up.

I spent about an hour down at Mom's tonight talking and now I'm ready for bed. After all....

...Tomorrow is another day
I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

:: L I Z Z Y ::

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

Hmmm...not too sure about this, but it was fun to do.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

1 brown paperbag (lunch size)

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

1 tablespoon oil

salt or popcorn salt to taste


put popcorn kernels, oil, and salt in bag. press bag flat to get air out. fold down top of bag one small fold (about an inch) and staple twice. (will not spark in microwave)

set microwave for popcorn setting (or about 2 minutes) and stay closeby. when it slows down dramatically take bag out and open. pour into bowl.

bag will be greasy, but popcorn will be good!

What's that Smell?

What's that smell? It's a smelly smell. It's a smelly smell that smells..............SMELLY!

That's what I have heard my children say a time or two around our house or when we're out and pass a skunk on the road. They've had the opportunity to use that phrase twice at our house in the last two days!

Yesterday we tried out a recipe for homemade microwave popcorn. The recipe works great, however, I tried to get as many pops out of the kernels as I could and took it a little too far! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for me, we were at my mom's when we burnt a bag of popcorn. Yuck! There are not many smells worse than burnt popcorn! I quickly carried the bag outside and poured water on it, but the smell permeated my skin and my right hand smelled like burnt popcorn all day!

The past couple of days I've been smelling something unpleasant in my house. You know how it is when you walk in the door and take a deep whiff to see if your house smells okay? (or am I the only one who does that?) Anyway, it hasn't been smelling "just right." Today I opened my pantry door to check on our supply of oatmeal (I buy it bulk), and when I grabbed the bag of potatoes off of my oatmeal container I knew something wasn't right. It had a smell....a smelly smell...a smell that smelled NASTY!!!

Okay, besides burnt popcorn, what smell is worse than rotten potatoes? They were so rotten they dripped across the floor as I carried them to the garbage. I yelled for Ben to get here quick and carry out the garbage. About 3 seconds too late I realized there would be more garbage to take care of...the napkins I had to use to wipe up the nasty potato drippings, the bag that the other bag of potatoes was in because the nasty drippings were on that bag, the onion bag, etc. So I filled up another walmart bag and carried it out, then came back and used Clorox wipes to clean up any lingering smells. Phew! I'm glad I found it, but that was one stinky, aka smelly, job!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vegetable Soup

I made a yummy pot of vegetable soup today. I thought I'd share the recipe, but please bear with me...I didn't really measure anything.

1 lb ground venison (you could, of course, use lean hamburger or ground turkey)
couple tablespoons flour
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, cut up
2 stalks celery, cut up

cook ground venison in large pan, add salt and flour and then add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook and stir until burger is no longer pink and onions are tender. Add:

cup of frozen corn
cup of frozen lima beans
cup of frozen peas
2 or 3 small potatoes, diced
1/2 cup barley
beef broth and/or chicken broth to cover meat and veggies

Bring the above to a boil and then cook on medium or medium high until vegetables and potatoes are tender. Add:

1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can green beans (or leftover green beans)

**Posted Later: I forgot to add that I also added some chili powder and oregano. I didn't measure them, so just sprinkle them on to taste. **

Simmer until ready to eat.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oatmeal, Anyone?

My family enjoys oatmeal. That hasn't always been the case though. About a year ago I was talking to a couple from our Sunday School class and the husband told me that he puts a little bit of peanut butter in his oatmeal. I thought "what do I have to lose? Maybe my kids will like it!" And guess what? They did! We've tried other ways of making it, but we always come back to this tried and true recipe. If you have a "non-oatmeal" eater out there, give this recipe a try:

For one serving:

1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 tsp sugar (I use demerara sugar)
dash of cinnamon (I pretty much cover the top of the oatmeal)
raisins -- about 1/4 cup or whatever your preference
2/3 cup water

stir and place in microwave on high for 2 minutes

Remove from microwave and add about a tablespoon of crunchy peanutbutter. Then you can either eat it as is, or add a bit of milk to make it thinner and cooler.


(Our cousin Ruthie discovered she liked oatmeal this way when she visited us last week.) :o)

Neal's Unnerving Ride

Okay, Neal rode just about all the coasters at Busch Gardens. He rode Apollo's Chariot, he rode the Big Bad Wolf, he rode Loch Ness Monster, and he rode the heart stopping Griffin! So what could be his least favorite ride??? It was the cable cars! Yep, that's right. Ben just said "What? That was the most relaxing one! Wasn't it?"

Beth and I rode in a car by ourselves, and Neal, Ruthie, and Ben rode behind us. Everything was going along just fine. Beth and I were talking about the "what if's." "What if the electricity went out, what would happen to the rides?" "What if we got stuck up here in the air," you get the picture. Just about that time our cable car stopped. I looked behind us and sure enough all the cars had stopped. Beth and I are stuck over the kiddie area watching all the cute little kids playing and the moms and dads with their strollers trying to keep up with all their children. Neal and his crew were stuck right between roller coasters! I had noticed when we went through that area that it was a bit unnerving to be that close to those rides going 75 miles an hour. Now Neal was stuck there. And not only was he stuck in a scary area, he had a 9 year old boy with him who didn't want to sit still and had lots of questions. "What would happen if we fell?" "Should I try to jump out of the car or should I just stay seated?" "Maybe I'll jump right now." Neal said he was trying to stay calm, but not feeling that way. Ruthie was the picture of calm as she was trying to divert Ben's attention to other topics. LOL

We were stuck there for about 10 minutes. After we finally got off the ride, Neal looked at me and said "I can ride the Griffin now....nothing could be worse than what we just went through!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

On Friday we went to Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Virginia. I love going to amusement parks, although I have to admit that my interests have changed. When I was a kid I never understood why my Mom wouldn't ride the rides. She would not go on a roller coaster at all. I LOVED them! What could be the problem. Well, her problem may not be the same problem I've developed, but I still feel like I better understand her now.

Beth and Ben are fearless on the roller coasters. They rode them over and over and over again. I'm doing pretty good if I ride each one once. Neal, Ruthie, and I would ride the roller coasters with them the first time (at least most of them) and then we'd let them ride by themselves while our heads went back to normal. I don't know, maybe it's just us, but our brains don't "bounce back" like they used to!

I learned my lesson last year on a few of the rides, and I knew better than to even try them. I can ride nothing with a repetitive motion or where it just goes round and round -- swings, the big boat that rocks back and forth, etc. I learned that I definitely cannot handle Corkscrew Hill which is a 3-D movie where you sit strapped down in seats and the floor moves you back and forth, up and down, etc. I almost tossed my cookies on that one last year, and there was no way I was going to give a repeat performance!

This year there was a new ride...The Griffin!

This is the world's tallest, floorless, dive coaster. It drops you down 205 feet at a 90 degree angle! When you get to the top of the drop, the coaster stops and you sit there for the longest 5 seconds of your life before it drops you down and carries you through the rest of the hills, twists, and turns! There are 3 rows with 8 people across. If you sit in rows one or two you stop at the top of the hill looking straight down. If you're in row three (which would be me!) you at least get to look straight ahead.

I rode that thing not once, not twice, but THREE times! It was the scariest roller coaster I've ever been on, but it was also the smoothest, and the most fun! I have to admit that I wasn't brave enough to ride in rows one or two, but my kids did! When we told them it was there last time to ride it, they both decided to ride in the front row. When I saw my precious little babies 205 feet up in the air staring down from a 90 degree drop, I about got sick! I would much rather have been on the coaster than watch them in that front row! I broke out in a sweat and my heart started beating rapidly. Whoa!!! That was a toughie! But not only did they sit in the front row, they raised their hands up in the air! Yikes!!!

We did have an awesome time though. I have to go right now, but I'll post tomorrow about Neal's favorite (NOT) ride! ;o)

I just noticed something -- You're Beautiful!

After Beth got her eyebrows waxed on Tuesday, Ruthie treated us all to ice cream at Dairy Queen. That was a nice treat for all of us! The scales definitely reflected the "nice treats" we enjoyed while Ruthie was here! But that's not what I'm writing about right now. After Dairy Queen we went to the park to let the kids play. Ben was playing with a couple of boys who were younger than him, and after Beth played for a little while, she joined Ruthie and I on the park bench.

We were sitting there, minding our own business, when a little 6 year old boy, named Ben (not my Ben), came up to Beth and said, "I just noticed something -- you're beautiful!" Then he ran back to his play.

Beth, Ruthie, and I sat there open mouthed for a few seconds before we burst out laughing.

Now that's my favorite thing to say to Beth, "I just noticed something -- you're beautiful."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Home Economics

For Home-Ec, Beth is planning and preparing one meal a week for our family. I have to admit this is one of my better ideas! Not only do I get a scrumptious meal out of it, I don't have to prepare it!!! Yaah!!!!!

Here's a picture of her first meal. I don't recall the name of it, but it had lots of beans (her favorite)and hamburger. She also made her first loaf of homemade bread. She did a fantastic job!

Here's her second meal. It was chicken wrapped in bacon. Inside the chicken was a layer of cream cheese and chives. Again....scrumptious! She made rice, green beans, and homemade bread to go along with it!


My friend Perri is a consultant for Tastefully Simple. A few months ago I was going to have a party for her, but the timing was not good and I had one person who could come. So I cancelled. I was going to send back the samples, but Perri insisted that I keep we've been enjoy some Tastefully Simple foods! Here is one that I highly recommend:

This is called Bountiful Beer Bread, but if you don't like to purchase beer you can do like I did and use 7-Up. It was delicious! If you want to order some mix, or any other Tastefully Simple item, check out Perri's website!
My daughter is now in Junior High....7th grade. She's growing up so fast, and it seems like she changes physically and emotionally every day! I stand eye to eye with her now...she may be an inch shorter than me, and I'm 5'5".

She got her glasses last week. When she tried on the frames she liked everything except her eyebrows! She said when she looked up close the glasses looked fine, but from a distance all she could see was her eyebrows. My plan was to have them waxed for her birthday in November, but I asked Mom if she'd like to give Beth an early birthday gift. So I took Beth last Tuesday to get her eyebrows waxed. Here are the results:

Our Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whadda Day!

Here was the plan for today...

9:30 Mom's eye doctor appointment
10:00 Beth's eye appt.
10:30 Teresa's eye appt.
11:00 Neal's eye appt.


9:30 sit down in waiting room at eye doctor
10:00 still sitting...
10:30 still sitting...
10:50 Beth was finally called back!

:::not sure of times, but we eventually all make our way back there:::

2:20 Leave eye doctor...THAT'S RIGHT! Almost 5 hours later we finally are finished! I am SO glad I took school work for the kids to do, and that they had Andy Griffith playing the entire time on the TV.

2:30 Arrive at Sears to pick out frames because we have a coupon.

3:30ish Leave Sears...weak...from...hunger....

3:45 Arrive at Bob Evans restaurant where Mom graciously buys us lunch, or was that supper? Maybe it was Lupper...or was it slunch?

5:05 Finally arrive back home...return phone calls from messages on machine...make Neal's supper

6:30 leave for church and Walmart.

9:30 Home for the night.

By the way, Beth has to get glasses. I got glasses in 3rd grade, and I believe Neal did, too. So I guess 7th grade's not too bad. She's near sighted with an astigmatism in both eyes. She picked out some really cute red glasses. I'll take a picture when she gets them. Boy is it hard to pick out your first pair of glasses!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Postcards Across America!

Ben has started working on a geography project for our homeschool group's Project Fair. The fair isn't until May, but it will probably take us all year to complete it. For geography this year he is learning all the states and their capitals, and he's writing a page of interesting facts about each state. For example, he wrote about Alaska today. Did you know that:

Alaska's state capital is Juneau?

the state flag is blue with the North Star and a dipper on it?

the state flower is the Forget-Me-Not?

the state bird is the Ptarmigan? (Have you even heard of it???)

the state tree is the Sitka Spruce?

the state nickname is "The Last Frontier?"

the state motto is "North to the Future?"

the state gem is Jade?

the state fish is the Giant King Salmon?

and last, but not least....

the state mineral is gold?!!!

These are things Ben found out today. Pretty cool, huh?

He will make a notebook of all of these state pages, but the second half of his project is where we need some help. He is collecting postcards from every state. So far he has 26 (with help of his two truck driving uncles, and several friends and family members). These are the states he has:

New Hampshire
New York
Rhode Island

So, if I know you either in real life, or I've known you a long time on the computer, and you can help Ben out with a postcard he doesn't have...let me know! He would greatly appreciate it!

September 11th

As I woke up this morning, the radio alarm reminded me that today is September 11th. It's been six years since that awful day when terrorists invaded our "safe" country.

I was listening to a man on the radio say that he got engaged two years ago on September 11th. That makes for a nice memory for that day.

Then I was thinking "Hmmmm, September 11th, September 11th, why is that ringing a bell?" (other than the obvious) And then I remembered, "Ben asked Jesus to be his Savior a year ago today!" Now we have something good to celebrate on September 11th. No terrorist can take that away from us!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

An Adventure

We were supposed to be in Kentucky for a family reunion this weekend, but due to some circumstances I'd rather not discuss....we're here at home! I really miss my family this weekend, and I felt really bad for my kids, but we're where we need to be right now.

Since we are here and all of our friends thought we were out of town, we decided to lay low and pretend we weren't here. LOL It's kind of like having a vacation at home. Our phone hasn't rung one time! Wow! We did tell Neal's parents because they were going to take care of our animals, but other than that "we're not here!" (That's our saying for the weekend)

Yesterday morning we got up and took Suzi for a walk down the street....about a mile. Since none of our friends live on our street, we figured our secret was safe. ;o) When we got back to our driveway, we decided to walk next door and visit with Neal's parents. We haven't had any time with them lately and we thought a visit would be nice. We stayed there about an hour or so. Neal made plans to come back at noon to watch the Va Tech football game on their big screen TV. Then we made plans to go on an adventure after the game. We decided to walk the permimeter of the 70 acres we live on...check all the boundaries and spray paint markings on boundary trees. And since we were going to do all that, and we knew it would take a couple of hours, I invited Grandma and Grandpa back to our house afterward for homemade pizza.

With plans made, we went on back to the house for breakfast (or by this time we could have called it lunch). Neal went back to his parents house for the football game and I started making the crusts. Beth and I did a bit of housekeeping chores and then she went on over to watch the game. Ben was working on something in his room, but before long he headed on over to Grandma and Grandpa's.

By the time the game was over, my house was clean and I had three pizzas, and two dessert pizzas almost completed. I'd never made dessert pizzas before, but I thought I'd give it a try. I used regular pizza crusts and baked them for about 10 minutes. After they cooled I put the "sauce" on them. The dessert sauce consisted of a block of cream cheese, a can of fat free sweetened condensed milk, a drop of lemon juice and about a teaspoon of vanilla. (It tasted yummy, by the way) On one of the pizzas I put coconut, chopped pecans, mini chocolate chips, oreo crumbs, and little pieces of Andes mints. Next time I'll leave the mints off, but other than that it was delicious! My other pizza I just put pecan pieces and crushed pineapple. I would have put coconut if I'd had more, but I didn't. It was really good! I loved the pineapple flavor. Yummy! But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Neal came back in time to help me finish put the toppings on the pizzas and then we changed into long pants for our adventure into the jungle, er, uh, I mean woods. We took a few backpacks along with bug spray, spray paint, and water. (Mental note: be sure not to confuse the spray paint with the bug spray) My Mother in law thought things through a bit better and in addition to the things we packed she also packed a flash light and toilet paper (you just never know!).

We started out on our hike a little after 4:00. The terrain was very uneven...up and down hills, we crossed the creek(s) five different times (finding the best place to cross), we walked through an area that had mountain laurel all over it and we had to walk hunched over up hill through it, there were briars everywhere, we carried sticks to knock down spider webs that were in our path, we had to climb over fallen trees, oh, and did I mention we took our dog? She had a great time. When we came to the creeks she would splash around and lay down in it. The cool water must have felt good to her. We're not sure how far our hike was...measured in miles...but we're thinking around 3 miles. It ended up taking us 2 1/2 hours to complete it, and we didn't sit down one time! The only times we stopped were when we spray painted the spots on the trees.

I kept thinking "if I only had my camera this would make a great post on my blog!" ;o)

When we got back home, I turned on the oven and put the pizzas in, and then took a nice, long shower! Neal's parents came back over after they showered and changed and we enjoyed pizza and salad. It was all really good! After we ate, we cleaned up and then played "PIT." That is such a fun game. We finally got in bed around midnight....with aching muscles and smiles on our faces!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I'm a Girly Girl

I found this on Amy's Blog. Let me know if you do it.

Your Brain is 87% Female, 13% Male

You have the brain of a girly girl

Which isn't a bad thing at all

You're empathetic, caring, and in tune with emotions.

You're a good friend and give great advice.

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."