Well last week I mentioned a favorite appetizer of ours that we usually have at all family functions. This week I thought I would stay along the appetizer trail and mention another of our favorites. This one happens to be a favorite of my nephew Jaben. I am talking about cocktail sausages. Now I know that everyone fixes theirs in different ways. Either rolled up in croissants, or cooked in bbq sauce. What I do with ours is this. Take equal parts of grape jelly and cocktail sauce and mix together over the stove. Add the cocktail sausages and cook over medium heat until heated through. I know I know grape jelly? You will be pleasantly surprised at how tasty this actually is. Just the other night I made this and actually cooked 4 packages of the sausages and had absolutely none left. I think my nephew must have parked himself right beside the table. On your next occasion try this one out and let me know what you think.
Well last week's question showed that Fall won out as the favorite season. This week I thought I would push a few buttons. I know everyone has an opinion on who is to blame for the rising gas prices. Whether it be the Government's lack of regulation, Big Oil's escalating profits, or the Middle East countries lack of oil production. So, what's your opinion? Feel free to leave a comment as well.
A couple of months ago I called and made appointments for all of us to make our trek to the local Dentist. Now mind you this included two adults and 4 kids. I can honestly say that our dental insurance makes NO money on our premiums!
The day arrived and I schlepped the whole clan sans hubby (he was working) to our appointment. Well I was not prepared for the report. Here goes: 27 cavities, 2 root canals, and 2 crowns. You could have pushed me over with a feather. Forget donating blood for charity I was going to have to donate it for cash! I wonder how many times a week they'll let you drag yourself in? What made it worse is that I am a complete wimp when it comes to dental work. I would rather have my eyelids turned inside out than to have to deal with a drill in my mouth. Too bad I don't have a twin because this was one time I would force her to switch places!
Update. . . . we've had the two root canals, two crowns, and 8 cavities done. Whoo Hoo! Only 19 more cavities to go! I keep telling them once they're finished with us they're going to have to find another dental impaired family to help pay their salaries! Hmm, maybe my hubby and I will be able to afford that steak dinner after all! Although with all this bling bling in our mouth I'd be afraid to chew!
Well, yesterday we had a birthday celebration for our youngest daughter who turned 12! That's right, out of childhood and into preteen! Hmm, that also means that I can't reap the benefits of those child menus anymore. . .rats! Anyway, I wanted to post a little note to say Happy Birthday Brenna!
Hope you all enjoyed the helper from last week. I've gotten quite a few stares at the grocery store this week while going through all the loaves looking for the right color twist tie!
This week I thought I would list some age-old helpers. You decide if they really work.
For a minor burn use colgate or crest toothpaste
Want your finger nail polish to dry quicker? Use Pam cooking spray.
Burn your tongue? Put some sugar on it!
Got stinky feet? One word - Jello! (I'm actually going to try this one out since there is a certain someone that has this problem in our house.)
Use kool-aid to clean your dishwasher pipes. Add it to the detergent. It will also clean toilets. (Now this one I'm leery of, at least if it doesn't work you'll have a nice colored toilet. Just remember to use the appropriate flavor for the color that matches your decor in case you're stuck with it!)
Elmer's Glue - smear on your face, let it dry and peel for a cheap and inexpensive facemask. Hmmm, although make sure you don't get it on your eyelashes. Ouch! That could hurt!
If you've used these before, post a comment to let all of us know it's ok! If you haven't, use at your own risk! Especially the Elmer's Glue! P.S. No you can't put it on your teenager's face hoping it will dry and permanently keep their mouth shut!
A few months ago our family added a Wii to our abode. I must admit that playing it is unlike any video game I have ever seen. I like the fact that you actually have to get physically involved into the game.
Lately the favorite game in the house at least for my Hubby and I has got to be the tennis. Boy you could say that it was Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert playing in the living room! Well, the other day we were playing a doubles match and as usual were really getting into the game. We were into game 3 of a 5 game set when my Hubby really starting getting into his role as my tennis partner. He was so into this game that I couldn't remember if we were playing tennis or football! The next thing I knew Wham! In his zealousness to return the other team's serve he proceeded to whack me right in the hip. If that wasn't enough a few hits later Bam! That's right I could have sworn that he knocked my shoulder out of joint. The whole time he's saying "Stay on your side woman!". I stood there with a look of who are you and what have you done to my husband?
Needless to say yesterday morning I woke up and felt that my arm was going to fall off. Boy, does anybody know where I can get a cheap pair of shoulder pads?
I got an email the other day about Andy Rooney. You all know him he is the cranky humorous gentlemen who blesses our life with the simplest of thoughts and ideas. He brings to mind the phrase "Stop and smell the roses". This particular email focused on some particular life lessons that he has learned. It is surprising that what he considers best learned does not include Heads of State, or College Professors, it's the every day life that we all take for granted. I thought I would list just a few.
The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
That when you're in love, it shows.
That being kind is more important than being right.
That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
That we should be glad that God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
Those were just a very few of the many things that this lovely man has blessed our lives with over the years.
I came across a story today on MSNBC that kind of shocked me. Apparently this week in Florida a jury awarded a jilted bride $150,000 for breach of contract. That's right cold feet could end up costing you big!
This story dates back to 2001 when the couple who were both previously married with grown children started dating. She moved in and supposedly there was an agreement that they would be married upon the jilted bride's youngest son entering college in 2005. When that didn't happen, she moved out and relocated to Pensacola where she began working at an $80k plus job and started dating someone new. Back pops in the ex in October of 2006 asking her to come back to him with a 2 carat ring in tow. So she decides to quit her job and move back. Here's where he said she said comes into play. She says a month after she moved back he leaves her a "Dear Jane" note in the bathroom expressing his desire to postpone the wedding. She stayed a few more months before moving out for good in March of 2007. Well, 3 months later she decides to file suit stating that she had given up a high paying job for him. Now he says that during their reconciliation he footed the bill for several trips, paid her mortgage payments, and also gave her $30k to pay off some bills. Only after learning that she had more debt did he get cold feet.
So here's the question to you, should someone be held responsible for changing their minds when extenuating circumstances come into play? And should that person be held monetarily responsible for that choice? Both parties are grown adults and had no property together. What do you think?
If you ever needed a visualization of what Philippians 4:13 means, all you need to do is watch this video. So many times in our lives it is much easier to complain and state what we can't do. To only focus on what we consider are our "burdens". If all of us just had 1/10th of the tenacity, perseverance, strength, and belief in ourselves that is shown in this video just imagine the miracles that we could accomplish. This video brings to mind a dear couple Ronnie and Barbara who clearly showed to me the true meaning of this verse but also the definition of ultimate sacrifice. Their son Bobby was born with down syndrome. At a time when the medical community's only suggestion was to permanently institutionalize him, Ronnie and Barbara celebrated Bobby's life including him in every family activity and Bobby became such a joy and shining light in many people's lives. Again thanks goes to Cheryl from Diary of a Crazy Lady for this clip. Viewer beware, you may want to grab a kleenex
I had posted before about the patch job done in our bathroom by my hubby. So far so good, it has done it's job as far as keeping me inside the bathroom while I'm brushing my teeth instead of falling into the abyss and taking a dirt bath under the house. Unfortunately as much as the patch job fixed one problem, it has created another. I'm not a squeamish person in no way and I'm generally not someone who gets scared easily. There is however one area that I am completely defenseless in and will turn into a screaming pile of jello in an instant. . . .BUGS!!!! I can't stand any kind of bug. As far as I'm concerned the only good bug is a dead bug. You can imagine my reaction when I went into the bathroom the other night half asleep to use the toilet. As I'm sitting there doing my "business" I happen to glance over and to my shock and horror is the biggest cricket I have ever seen. I mean this thing looked like a bug on steroids! Luckily we live out in the country and our nearest neighbor is about 150 yards through the woods because someone would have thought that I had encountered and ax murderer. It's also good that I was sitting on the toilet at the time so I didn't pee in my pants. Yep you guessed it, our "patch job" seems to have opened up a nice lovely door for the insect world to come and visit through. Of course the hubby says "It's only a cricket", my response is that it's big enough to tote off our 2 year old! And no, there is no bathroom remodel project on the horizon. Looks like I'll be buying stock in Raid. Oh the joys of being a Jeff Foxworthy poster couple.
Just because I consider myself a responsible citizen I thought I would send out a warning to all drivers within a 200 mile radius of Live Oak. We are now on count-down mode for Jacob's learner's permit. That's right, it is now officially under two weeks before another teen driver hits the roads of Suwannee County! He is now engrossed in that lovely 4 hour drug and alcohol course that is a requirement from the State. I guess now starts him trying to tell me how to drive huh? As I have stated before, you will be able to recognize me very easily as the white-haired woman with the nervous twitch grabbing hold of the dashboard with white knuckles all with a look of horror on my face. Pray for me!
In last week's poll the Mountains won out as the favorite place. This week I thought I would ask about seasons. I guess just having been in the mountains made me think of my favorite season which is Fall because of the leaves changing and that first hint of coolness in the air. So, do you prefer the heat of summer, the flowers of spring, the cool-down of fall, or the icy tundra of winter?
I have mentioned that our family went on vacation recently to the Smoky Mountains. Growing up not only my family but my Husband's as well spent many of our vacations in this area. Even after viewing the splendor of this beautiful landscape year after year I still get a sense of wonder and amazement upon laying eyes on it again. Not only just the natural beauty of this land that God graced us with but also the elaborate homesteads built by settlers with just their hands and faith in God can completely humble even the most worldly traveler. I thought I would share just a few of the pictures from our trip. As beautiful as they are they can in no way completely bring across the wonder of this beautiful part of our country. If you haven't already, plan a trip with your family to experience this area of complete wonder.
I thought I would let you know about a contest I stumbled upon. Laura over at Mom colors is having a contest for one of her cute bracelets. She has 9 different designs one being Mom Blogger and another being Christian Mom. These are cool bracelets for any Mom to wear! Check out her site and leave a comment by the 31st for a chance to win a bracelet of your choice. Even if you don't win, these bracelets are a neat item to have.
Ok this week I thought I would mention a lovely appetizer that I do on a regular basis that can usually change the most timid of individuals into ravenous beasts. I'm talking about my Spinach Dip. This has got to be the simplest of recipes but people just rave about it and think that you went to such lengths to make it. Here's the ingredients: 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, 1 pkg. Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix, 1 sm. jar of mayo (DO NOT use low fat!), 1 lg. sour cream. Now here comes the easy part that will make you look like the next Martha Stewart. Thaw and drain the spinach and then add ALL ingredients into a bowl and mix well, Yummy! Now, here's where you could stop and just put the dip into a bowl or serving dish and be like those "other" hostesses but we're pushing for Martha Stewart level right? Take a loaf of mountain bread (round loaf) and cut out the top and pull out the bread inside turning it into a bowl. Pour the dip into your homemade creation and cube up the bread that you pulled out. Place your lovely bread bowl filled with that yummy dip onto a serving platter and place the cubed bread around it for a lovely presentation. I usually buy a loaf or two of french bread as well and cube it up because you will NEVER have enough bread. Believe me this dip is always a crowd pleaser, just as my sister-in-law Joyce.
I have to give thanks to Cheryl over atDiary of a Crazy Lady for this. She had posted this youtube video on her blog and it is so powerful that I just had to put in on the blog for everyone to be able to see.
Usually in this post I'll mention a cleaner that I've come across that is really great. This time I thought I would go a different route. One pet peeve of mine when I'm shopping is to try and find the freshest loaf of bread on the shelf. I really don't stay loyal to a particular brand. It's all in finding the freshest. I came across a website today that says you can tell the freshness by the color of the twist tie. They say that bread is normally delivered 5 days a week being M,T,Th,F,S. Supposedly by looking at the color of the twist tie you can tell how fresh the loaf is. Here goes: Monday - Blue, Tuesday - Green, Thursday - Red, Friday - White, and Saturday - Yellow. I don't know if it's true but I did happen to buy a loaf yesterday (Sunday) and the tie on it was yellow and it was a nice fresh loaf. Check your local store and let me know what you find out! Hope this household helper was a good one!
Last night we decided to visit what is supposed to be one of Gatlinburg's scariest places, The Mysterious Mansion. Just the appearance of the mansion upon arrival is enough to make the hair stand up on end. In the driveway is a vintage hearse and at night the mansion is all aglow in purple. Only 5 of us were brave enough or should I say foolish enough to give it a try. Prior to arriving I had searched on the internet and found that it was supposed to be one of the top 5 haunted houses in the country. It started to go downhill when we were waiting in line to buy tickets. As I was paying, we heard my husband say whoa! Poor Brenna made the mistake of turning around to see that a clown was standing behind us in the lobby. I can only say she went from nervous laughter to absolute horror and shrieking in an instant for she is completely terrified of clowns(hey, some people's fears are weirder than others). I had to physically remove her off of me just to be able to pay! After dragging her with me through the entrance we found ourselves in a parlor that looked like it jumped out of an 1800's victorian house complete with a talking skeleton in the corner. I would like to tell you what it said but I couldn't hear a word over Brenna's sobbing with a few screams mixed in. My husband was the brave one and went first. Ok, not really we kind of forced him to! I can only say that it was at that moment when we went through the first door that I pretty much figured that I had made the dumbest mistake of my life by not choosing to visit the Guinness Museum! Unlike most haunted houses, this particular one does not rely on animatronics but real actors instead. We found ourselves in a dark hallway all five of us crammed so close together I couldn't tell who was who. I had to put my arm around Brenna's shoulders not only for comfort but to be able to get her to move down the hallway all the while yelling in her ear "There are no clowns! There are no clowns!", what I didn't tell her was that there was a clown standing right next to her just waiting for her to open her eyes lucky for me I kept screaming at her to keep her eyes shut! We clumsily wandered through this horror show plundering from one scare to another. At one point one of the actors dropped down from above us in a hallway, I thought Damien was going to have a heart attack. He was the poor schmuck who got stuck last in line. He kept yelling "Walk faster! Walk faster!". We FINALLY got out of there. I don't know who was more relieved me or the kids. I didn't know how much effort it took to keep three kids from completely bowling over John and I. I was more exhausted from holding them back than from being terrified. I can honestly say that this was one activity that was completely worth the money and is an experience we will be talking about for a very long time.
As you all know we are on vacation this week in the beautiful smokey mountains. So far our trip has been filled with laughs and good times. There however has been one activity that has been gnawing at me very quietly all week. My father passed away 2 1/2 years ago. It is always hard to lose a member of your family but when they are not only your father but also one of your best friends the loss is tremendous and it is one that I feel more and more every day. I still have not truly finished mourning the man that was such a large presence in my life and in a way I'm grateful for that. Yesterday we took a drive to a place called Cades Cove. It is a part of the smokey mountains that whenever I'm there I feel like I have traveled back in time. Seeing the original homesteads and churches make you feel like if you stood quietly off to the side that somehow you would hear the voices of the men, women, and children who occupied this beautiful land so many years ago. We had stopped at the first few sites when we pulled up to the Methodist Church. For those of you that have never been there this particular church sits on the edge of an absolutely beautiful pasture that seems to be quietly looked after by twin mountains off in the distance. My Husband and I did not take the normal pathway up to the Church doors but however went down a path that has been walked I'm sure by many people for decades. It brought you up behind the church on the edge of the pasture behind the cemetery. It was shielded by the regular "tourist" area by a stand of trees. My Husband and I were just standing there amazed that even in the heat of summer there was a refreshing cool breeze blowing down from the mountains. Then off to the distance as if right on cue a doe walked out of the woods and stood there just sharing glances with us. It was at that moment that I think we both realized if my father had had the opportunity to choose his final resting place this would be it. Even though the act of spreading his ashes somehow brought a final end to his "death", the thought of him being in a place where he will be looked over by beautiful wildlife, the changing of the seasons, and the majestic mountains that he loved so well brought such a peace as well. As it says in Proverbs 10:7, "The memory of a good person is a blessing.". I can honestly say that I am truly blessed to have had such a wonderful christian man to call Dad.
Well the last poll showed that Coke products won. I myself prefer Pepsi, oh well! I figured I would ask about favorite vacation spots this time. Of course our family at this moment is on vacation in the mountains of Tennessee/North Carolina. I think that this is my favorite vacation spot. Growing up my family spent most of our vacations here and I have very fond memories of those times. We have also spent time at the beach, theme parks, and I have visited the "big city" of NY. So, which is your favorite?
Well today was my birthday. I can honestly say I felt like a queen all day long. The kids and hubby started the morning off with a new license plate for the car that has Live Oak Brady Bunch on it and my Mother got me a beautiful ruby ring and Ana & Pop got me a great jewelry case. We went to the Pancake Pantry for breakfast which has been a staple of Gatlinburg for a long time and I have always wanted to eat there. They have at least 21 different varieties of pancakes. I myself had the Georgia Peach crepes. We all honestly ate like pigs and none of could finish our food there was so much. We finished the day wandering around Gatlinburg window shopping. Adam was ecstatic when his Daddy got him a new Thomas the tank engine airbrushed t-shirt. We challenged the boys to a game of laser tag and were beaten miserably plus it showed just how out of shape we are! This evening my wonderful Hubby took me out to dinner. We again stuffed ourselves although I stopped short of bursting so I could save room for something I have ALWAYS wanted to try - bananas foster. The show of preparing it was equal to the taste! Oh boy! We both had to walk two miles just to be able to sit! Overall the day was wonderful and relaxing and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family.
You know I've heard about strange sightings seen by tourists while visiting the smokey mountains. I never figured that I would actually see one that would leave me speechless. This one actually left two little kids on the verge of tears and probably will scar them for life. Just when you thought it was safe to drink the water again. I guess I'd better stock up on barbasol and gillette razors or schedule them for a heavy dose of electrolysis! I wonder if someone has a two for one special?
Well our first big outing on our vacation was to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. Everyone was excited. I had been the only one to ever go there but that was 17 years ago and I remembered nothing about it and the park has made a tremendous transformation since. We were all looking forward to a great day outside that is until the rains came. Let me tell you I felt like I was walking around with someone holding a garden hose over my head for at least half the day. My husband said it best when he said that "he had water in places he never had before" but we didn't let that stop us. Bad hair and all we trenched around like a bunch of little sponges jumping from ride to ride along with all of the rest of the drounded rats. There were actually quite a few great thrill rides at the park some of which my husband said made our daughters and I get closer to God on quite a few occasions! Our youngest son Adam had an absolute blast on their river rapids ride. I have never seen a 2 year old giggle with delight as much as he did when that water came billowing over the sides absolutely drenching him over and over! Overall the day was quite exciting and fun and we finished it off with dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. My husband and I decided that a trip there one time was enough for our lifetimes. The good thing is when Adam didn't get his way and started screaming no one could hear him! The next best event of the evening was our go-cart adventure. We found an indoor track that John, I and the kids (even Adam)raced on. Boy nascar had nothing on us! If only I could get Damien to stop driving like an 80 year grandma! geesh
We have arrived! It was a lovely drive on interstate through construction zones and idiotic drivers. I was actually able to get a couple of hours sleep during the drive this morning until it was interrupted with phone calls from our tail vehicle with requests for potty breaks. Even on the road I can't escape pee breaks! The best part was going over the mountain to gatlinburg it actually got down to 65! After driving up a road that would make a drunk person sober we finally found the house. Although when we venture out I think it would be safe to leave a trail of bread crumbs so we can find our way home. Well off to unpack and rest our puppies up to be able to walk the streets and no I'm not talking about working them either!
Well we have officially started on our road trip. We left the house this morning right on cue much to my Hubby's delight at 4am. Poor Adam started off on a rough patch since getting woken up at 3:30am is not what he bargained for but luckily for us he met back up with the sandman pretty quickly. Here's the official tally so far: 1 gas stop(love that cheap gas in Georgia!), 2 I gotta go's, 4 How long will it take to get there's, 5 I'm hungry's, and only 1 I'm bored. I think that's a good count so far, yes we are only 70 miles from home but with 5 kids and 5 adults you can't ask for much. I'll try and keep logging in and posting about our adventurous road trip today. For now, enjoy your nice comfortable snug in a bug bed because I'm cramped in a Ford pickup with just enough room to put my feet in a 1x2 area on the floor in front of me. All for the sake of that little thing we call vacation!
For those that know me know that I am NOT a fru-fru person in any way. So it might come as a shock to those when I tell them that I actually splurged on myself for once. I went today and had a pedicure and a set of them "fancy" nails put on! So, if I screw up the typing it's because I'm still getting used to them! The fun started when we walked in. Like most nail salons (at least in our area), it was staffed entirely by vietnamese. That being said they spoke very little english and would spout off into tirades of vietnamese amongst themselves. I can only imagine what they're actually saying all the while looking at you with a smile on their face! You know probably, "Can you believe what these toes look like? They look like they been put through a meat grinder and ooh the smell!" I don't even want to know what they're thinking. The pedicure was nice especially since it was my very first one but I am not one that likes to have people do things for me especially sitting there letting someone massage my legs(boy that was nice), or do my nails. I can say that if I worked in that shop day in and day out I don't think I would have a single brain cell left. The fumes! Geesh I kept watching to make sure that no one pulled out a lighter, one spark and boom forget how our nails looked someone would be doing our hair for our post-mortem. Anyhow I can honestly say that at least until I get completely aggravated with these fancy bling blings my hubby can now call me "high maintenance". Now if only I could open this can of soda without flipping my nail across the room.
Well, our yearly vacation is almost upon us. This year my Hubby wanted to go to the mountains so off to Gatlinburg we will be a going. I found a terrific deal on a rental house outside of Gatlinburg that sleeps 10 so it will be a great fit for our brood of seven! We will be leaving early early early Saturday morning (3am). We both have very fond memories of the mountains since both of our families chose that as the destination for our family vacations growing up. The only part I'm not looking forward to is the 8+ hour car ride up there! I don't know who'll be worse, the 2 year old or the teenagers. So, right now we're on count-down mode. Rooms are being cleaned (they're all trying to win $50.00 in spending money), laundry is being done, and lists are being made and checked. So far so good but I'm sure by Friday at midnight I'll have 100 more gray hairs and a nervous twitch in my right eye! Oh what we put ourselves through for the sake of relaxation!
We all know that along with raising kids everyone gets their fair share of hilarious happenings and funny stories to tell to future generations. As I was walking through Walmart today near the pharmacy my eyes fell across a certain section of the store and it proceeded to trigger a memory of just one of those funny stories as told by one of my "other" moms Nadine. Many years ago she and her husband had company over for dinner. At one point during the evening her then 3 year old son (who's a lot older now and will probably kill me!) wandered down the hallway. Well, they didn't think anything of it but as mothers we all know what a little "silence" usually means. After a few minutes, little John John came walking back down the hallway with his new find. To Nadine's absolute horror little John came walking in with his "pillow" on his shoulder proudly showing off his find to all who would listen. Well, what he had actually found was one of his mother's sanitary napkins in the bathroom. That's right! Little John was cuddling a stayfree maxi pad! I can only imagine what my reaction would have been if Adam had done the same. I would have to decide between crawling under the nearest rock I could find or just run out of the house in complete humiliation! So, everyone tell us your funny story. Leave nothing out. You know we all love a good laugh.
Well you all know that two of our kids have been gone for the past month visiting their Dad in South Florida. Today, I made the pilgrimage to Jacksonville to the airport along with two Grandma's, one little brother, and one girlfriend. Needless to say the minivan was the vehicle of choice. After going through what seemed 40 miles of construction (it was actually about 2), my daughter Meghan sent me a text message that their plane was delayed for one hour. We could have let that be a complete damper to our afternoon but it took all of about a nanosecond to plan a side trip to Target. I have to admit one of my favorite things in the world is to shop the endcaps at Target. I have found some great clearance items there. Unfortunately it was slim pickins today and we left after a glum shopping session. Off to the airport we went. We picked up the kids, got the luggage, and left the airport in record time. If only the return trip was just as good. After stopping for some good cheesy thin crust grease drippin down your arm pizza, we started for Live Oak. Unfortunately for me I missed the turn for 295W off of I-95S (give me a break! there was tons of construction!). I then realized that I had to make the whole trek to I10W during rush-hour traffic in Jacksonville. Just my luck. I realized after about 5 minutes exactly why I no longer live in the big city. No offense but 95% of the drivers must leave their common sense at home before they before they get in their car to drive! I think I counted 5 times that I was "politely" cut-off. Finally, we merged onto I10 and left the big city behind. And of course it always seems that when I'm driving, that's when mother nature wants it to rain like cats and dogs. Whew! We finally made it home all in one piece! I think next time I'll hire a chauffeur!
We've all been there. On our yearly family vacation with kids in tow to visit what we parents think is an exciting and interesting place that the whole family will enjoy. Although we should be satisfied with just surviving the 8 hour car trip alone. Then once you get there all of those exciting places and activities you were so looking forward to seem like absolute torture to those that seem to know everything. That's right I'm talking about teenagers! Our family is about to embark upon our trip in less than a week. We have planned an exciting 8 day trip to Gatlinburg and we can hardly wait. Or should I say my Husband and I can hardly wait! I can see it now, upon visiting Cades Cove and oohing and aahing walking amongst the original settler's cabins and churches, walking through the cemeteries and just soaking up all of the natural beauty of this place I'll glance over to "them" and they'll probably be standing there with a glum look on their face when they realize that they have no signal on their cell so texting their buddies back home is out of the question. Not to mention the absolute horror of wanting them to actually "walk" 1/4 mile down a trail to visit what they think is just an "old house in the woods". Or, stand in the front while listening to a park ranger describe the differences between the "red" berries and the "blue" berries! Hmmm, this is actually starting to sound pretty good. And to think that I never thought I would be able to get enough payback?
I decided to change up the question of the month. I'm going to be adding one weekly. Our last question showed that we are no different than most women. We all color our hair and are not ashamed to admit it. The new question is about your choice of soft-drink. In our house there are multiple favorites. Mine of course if Pepsi (diet actually), the boys love Mountain Dew (anything with 10,000 grams of caffeine), the girls will choose Dr. Pepper a lot of the time. So, which one do you like?
I am amazed daily at the technological advances that are made in the area of video games. It seems that the only thing left is to invent one that actually plays the game for you. But, maybe they already have and we just haven't heard about it in Live Oak. The kids today just truly do not know how good they have got it. Although they said the same about our generation too I'm sure. How long do you think the average teenager of today would last say in any given year from the 50's? I would almost pay for that opportunity for any 1 of our four to make that trip. I mean, let's think about this. First of all, if you were lucky enough to have a television in your house you can bet that it would not be in color. The horror! But that's not the worst. Can you imagine any teen of today actually having to deal with rabbit ears or even with the fact that they would have to walk across the living to room to change the channel? Well I think that alone would just about push 75% of them over the edge right there. Plus how about the fact that they would have to get up to answer the phone, and no caller-id, call-waiting, speed dial, heck they'd have a rotary dial! This is getting better and better! What about the boys, forget the cushy riding lawnmowers, they'd actually have to walk! Forget the Saturday movie, just sitting on the porch watching my sons have to do that is entertainment enough! Plus, it would be absolutely expected of anyone to use "please and thank you" plus "yes ma'm and sir". How in the world would they handle it? I say forget all of this nonsense spending on laser guided whatchamacallits and let's fund a re-creation of a Leave it to Beaver neighborhood that each and every teen in America would have to spend at least 2 weeks every year learning to appreciate the truly finer things in life that they are blessed with!
This week I figured I would highlight a favorite food of ours that we had just a few weeks ago at my Hubby's 40th birthday party. Pulled pork bbq. Now I know the style bbq you eat depends on the area you come from. People from Kansas argue that their's is better than the folks from Texas and the Carolinians insist that you have to eat it with slaw on top. I'm not going to say who's is best but I have to say that the bbq we made was quite good. Start off with a boston butt. Now the size you buy completely depends on the amount you want. Just to tell you at the party I cooked 3 boston butts for about 25-30 people and had about a gallon sized bag left. Anyway, I cook mine in a crock pot on low overnight. One key ingredient is to add about 3 cups of beef broth and pour it over the meat so it can sit there and marinate while it's cooking. Once the meat is done, the fun begins. Now if you're one of those people that hate getting their hands "dirty" while cooking, this recipe isn't for you. I usually take the meat and sit it out on a platter and get my large bowl ready beside it. Start pulling apart to your hearts content. The finer you shred it the better it is plus this is the time that you pull apart place a little in the bowl and then a little in your mouth! Once you have the entire roast shredded you have two choices, you can either mix it with your favorite sauce or you can make your own. Serve it on buns with your best homemade bbq beans and you can't beat it!
You know I am constantly hearing reports about things that are designed to make your life easier, reading articles on the web about what you can do to simplify your life etc. . My dream life would be living out in the middle of no-where completely off the grid meaning that we were fully self-contained. Wouldn't have to worry about electricity, phone, or tv. Ok so maybe I'm being self-destructive since I would either be completely nuts in about 2 days or being charged with some form of a felony after I would have to deal with 4 teens with no internet, phone, or tv! Hey wishful thinking huh? In today's society with everyone gearing towards "simplification" you would think that that term would be spread out over the 'entire' society. Well yesterday I found one area where the word simple is no where allowed near their idiotic society. I'm talking about furniture designers. More importantly the furniture designers of the "assembly required" society. I mentioned before that my Mom had recently moved into an apartment after selling her house. Well, she decided instead of dragging the clunky corner computer desk with her, she would purchase a "new and better one". I told her that would probably be a good idea. Ha! What was I thinking? I went to the store and purchased the item. My first clue should have been that it took two grown men and finally a woman (isn't that normally the case?) to even lift the thing into the back of my car. Well, that was the easy part. It took three herniated discs and two inguinal hernias on my part to get it from my car into the apartment! And that was the good part of this story! But I put on my game face and bravely (yeah right!) opened up the shipping crate a.k.a. box. I started looking for the instruction sheet, you know the piece of paper that usually at most has maybe 8 steps to complete the project? Boy was I ever wrong, the only thing I saw was what I considered an instruction encyclopedia. Not just one volume, the entire set! I'm talking 50 steps, and I mean 50! Right then and there I should have somehow convinced my Mother that a couple of concrete blocks stacked up in the corner with a piece of plywood on top would have suited her just fine Let me say I consider myself pretty handy. My Daddy made sure he raised a daughter that wouldn't get taken by repair guys and the such. I'm proud to say I can change the oil and brakes on a car, install a new kitchen faucet, put in a new toilet (especially since I broke the old one), and even help lay laminate flooring. But this project completely chewed me up and spit me out. I started at 2:30p and didn't finish until well after 6:00pm. I can only say that there is some pansy of a man sitting in a corner office somewhere in Des Moines who has never held a hammer and doesn't know the difference between metric and standard who designed this thing. Forget vacation! My next road trip is going to find this fool and show him the difference between a whippin and a whoopin!
I have chronicled the ongoing battle in our house that plagues many a mother all over the world. I'm talking of course about room cleaning. It's a subject that can bring instant sympathy or anger upon any given woman's face. It's so bad in our house that I even resort to my secret weapon. The kids call her Ana but when she's in "clean-it" mode many other names come to light. Some of the best ones are Cleaning Police, Aunt Holly wanna be, but my favorite is of course Eva Braun as labeled by my son Jacob. I get the zits cartoon delivered to my email the other day and about just fell off the chair when I opened up this one! How sweet it is!
Today I thought I would highlight a wonderful product that I can only say legitimizes the phrase "good things come in small packages". You know that product that when you use it for the first time makes you want to slap yourself on the forehead like the V8 commercials making yourself wonder how you lived without it for so long. The product I'm talking about is Goo-Gone. I challenge anyone to find a stain or mark that this little product can't remove. Let me tell you having 5 kids in the house I have truly challenged it's abilities. Without it my house could be called american grafitti and I'm not talking about the movie! From crayon to pen, scuff marks to skateboard tracks, gum (it's now been banned in my house!), tar, and those lovely stickers that my boys so discreetly placed all over their bedroom walls, this product tackled them all and won hands down! I have only one thing to say, "I'm Goo Goo over Goo Gone!".
Boy, you know living in a house with 6 other people you really must learn to live with complete and utter chaos happening all around you pretty much 24 hours a day. I have to admit that I look forward to the kids' summer vacation. Just the thought of not having to deal with getting 4 teens up and out of bed, fed, and dressed by 7:15a makes me want to run around the house in my nightgown yelling "I'm Free! I'm Free!". Ok, so that picture might want to make my 14 year olds enter therapy at a young age but I'm allowed to dream aren't I? Well my kids Jake and Meghan left the 1st week of June to go and visit their Dad for 4 weeks. My stepkids Damien and Brenna go and stay at their Mom's every other week. You would think that being able to get that much of a break would make me think I'm living at a Spa with Miss Clairol as my roommate. But geesh, I'm about ready to wish for school to start tomorrow. Turns out my Mother sold her house (a true blessing) and she leased an apartment here in town. So we proceeded to have to pack up a 1900 sq ft house and haul it over to a 2 bedroom apartment. Hallelujah we survived it! That's where this story at least on my part goes south. Originally when my Mother looked into the apartments she only wanted a 1 bedroom. Unfortunately they only had 2 bedrooms left so she went ahead and leased with the knowledge that when a 1 bedroom became available she would be able to move into one (8 - 12 months down the road or so they said). Well, the boxes weren't even on the floor long enough to make an indent before SURPRISE a 1 bedroom opened up. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Oh no, not from the excitement but from the sheer horror of knowing that I had to move her AGAIN in less than 1 week! Today was D-Day. I tell you I felt like slave labor from a third world country. The same thing over and over, pick up box, stagger down the hallway, stumble out the front door, pause to gasp and ponder if that pop was a disc in your back or a hernia in your gut, then trudge out to the truck and heave the box onto the trailer. And think I only had to do that 5000 times! Am I lucky or what? Well, after what seemed an eternity we finished or should I say we hit the brick wall and there was no way any of us was going to attempt to climb it for the 5001 time! Forget the Wii fitness pack, I've got a better workout for you!