Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Tigercub!

Two years ago today our little surprise package arrived with a bang! Today we will celebrate by going to "Donalds" (McDonalds), getting him his very first balloon, eating cake and who knows what else! Happy Birthday my little Hurricane!

Newborn Tigercub!

1 year old...already getting into trouble!

2 years old...hamming it up for the camera!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm DONE!!!

The last gift has been purchased. The list making is through. The menus are planned. Let the holidays begin. Finally! I think the sentiment of the lady I just encountered in Bed, Bath, and Beyond says it all. She looked at her frazzled looking husband and two energy filled kids and informed them: "We will find these monkey accessories. AND WE WILL MAKE IT FUN!"

Merry Christmas all!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Coffee Talk 12.18.09

Good Morning, ladies! Come on in and grab a cinnamon roll! Made fresh from Pioneer Woman's recipe...and let me tell ya, they are GOOD!

Like everyone else, this week has been a whirlwind! So much going on. This was our last week at tutorial until after the holidays so we have been finishing up chapters and taking tests and preparing for parties. I also fell hopelessly behind working on teacher gifts. Last year I did "dinner" for the teachers and made and froze meatballs and then made a bag with pasta, sauce, bread and brownie mix. I was proud of those little bags, too proud, I guess. Cause this year I had similar plans...but they just didn't happen. Suddenly, this week was upon me and I had no clue what to do. So, I made cinnamon rolls and each teacher got a pan of them and a Starbucks card. It certainly wasn't the break from cooking they got last year, but at least it wasn't another "World's Greatest Teacher" ornament....right? And the cinnamon rolls were really good!

We got a little more shopping done...but I am still not through and for this die hard, through before Thanksgiving girl, that is stressing me out. a lot. I guess at some point, I just need to do what I can do and not worry about it...or give away the two year old that is cramping my shopping style, hmmmm. Seriously, I tried to take the three youngest with me Monday and get a little done...It was AWFUL, Tigercub screamed, threw things, and fought me at EVERY STORE! On the way home, Baseball boy said, "Momma, there are a LOT of stores we can't go back to, aren't there!" Next year, if I can't find it online, I'm not buying it (I am so full of it, but right now I totally mean it!)!

We also experienced great sadness this week with the loss of a family friend who was killed in a car accident. I almost hesitate to even write this because, truly, it isn't my tragedy. And yet, it was such a part of the week, I feel compelled to share. We went to visitation Tuesday night and stood in line for about 2 HOURS! The family is well loved and has tons of support and yet that precious mother has been on my heart continuously since Sunday. I cannot imagine outliving my children. I cannot imagine a week and a half before Christmas having to bury my son. Their strength and faith has been amazing and is a testament to their faith in Christ. And yet, their hearts are broken! I have had this on my mind all week and I am just so grateful for Christ. I am so grateful that, though their hearts ache, they have the hope of seeing their son again one day. How precious the hope that we have as Christians and how desperate those without that hope must feel. How precious the arms of a loving God who wraps us up in love, completely understanding how it feels to have to give up your son. How incredible knowing that our suffering on earth is temporary and one day we WILL be in the presence of our savior! What a beautiful hope this season offers...not just the birth of a baby, but the beginning of our salvation. The hope for the mother who has lost her son. The peace that passes all understanding. I pray for those who do not have that peace this season, that maybe they will find it in a tiny baby this Christmas!

And one last reminder, as the traffic gets crazy, the roads get icy and more travelled and the last minute shoppers (like me) get more stressed...WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT! I know they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but they can also save your life!

As for Small Things...I have done great this week! Loved those mass points for a kitchen that definitely needed it. However, my favorite was chatting with my daughter yesterday about our favorite Christmas memories. I don't have one particular one that sticks out to me. I just love the memories from childhood Christmases of staying up till ridiculous hours playing games and eating candy from stockings around the kitchen table. The later it got, the sillier we got and I can remember laughing till our sides hurt. I miss my sisters! Love you girls (just in case you read this!). So what is your favorite memory?

Oh, and I almost forgot...tomorrow morning, we head out to jackson Mississippi to see Ballet Magnificat perform their Christmas Ballet...cannot wait!

Have a blessed weekend, and be sure to check out Home Sanctuary for more coffee talk.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Daybook 12/14/09

FOR TODAY December 14, 2009...

Outside my window...The sun is just starting to come up. It is so peaceful and still. I love this time of day.

I am thinking...Of all I have to do today but more about a family friend who lost their son this weekend. I cannot even imagine what they must be going through right now. But I am also so grateful for the hope of salvation and knowing that, if Jesus is your savior, there is hope!

I am thankful for...my salvation. For this time of advent when we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. Because it is not so much the birth of a baby we celebrate, but the hope and peace and salvation he brings.

From the learning rooms...a little bit of the Three R's and a lot of Christmas. This week, we must get serious about baking, shopping, wrapping, and celebrating our savior!

From the kitchen...hopefully lots of calorie laden treats. I think I am going to attempt Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls, although I am up in the air about using her maple topping (which I know I would love) or a regular powder sugar icing (which is universally loved). I am also planning on doing some sugared pecans, some chocolate coconut macaroons, Oreo truffles, fudge...it is probably not a good thing I bypassed the exercise this morning!

I am wearing...pajamas--don't judge me!

I am creating...hopefully a houses full of goodies and lots of Christmas cheer.

I am going...to hopefully finish up at least part of my last minute shopping needs. Hit the grocery store and start baking!

I am reading...My Bible, Power of a Positive Mom, and the Advent Conspiracy.

I am hoping...For an easy school day and a productive baking day.

I am hearing...the hum of the heating unit and the clicking of the computer keys.

Around the house...laundry and Christmas activities...we will have fun if it kills me!

One of my favorite things...Christmas goodies--it is why I have become the "fat sister"!

A few plans for the rest of the week:baking, school, dance, guitar, children's choir presentations, hopefully some shopping, visitation and possibly the funeral of our friend's son, basketball practice and cheer leading, and tutorial. Then on Saturday, it is off to Jackson, MS for the Ballet Magnificat! It is going to be a busy one!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Hopefully, by day's end, my kitchen will be this tidy, my face will be this happy and my baking dreams will have come true.

And, if I look this lovely and put together, my husband wouldn't mind a bit!

To read more daybooks, go to The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Coffee Talk 12.11.09

Good Morning Ladies,

Come in and grab a mug of hot chocolate and a pecan sweet roll. I would like to tell you it is from my Christmas baking. I can't, because I haven't actually started my Christmas baking. Instead, I hit our favorite part of the grocery store, the "Oops, we baked too much" rack. And friends, it is worth the calories, even if it isn't home made!

Like everyone else this time of year, the days are flying by in a blur filled with far more plans than could possibly be done! This week has been no exception. Monday, we had the city Christmas Parade. I already blogged (or rather vented) about that this week, so I will just leave that alone. Tigercub also began running fever Monday and by night's end had 104. Which is scary. Tigerfan took him to the doctor Tues. and found he had an ear infection, but that the high fever was viral and possibly Swine Flu. However, true to his predictions, by yesterday, the rascal was fever free and his old self again!

Along with our normal schedule this week we have had dentist appointments, shopping, parades, guitar practice, cheer leading, basketball practice and today, Football boy will go caroling at a local nursing home. I have found myself a little grumpy, a lot sleep deprived, and contemplating how, exactly, do other people "get it all done". I know you are really not supposed to compare yourself to others. I know I can't see "behind closed doors" and what seems to be a together person might be falling apart behind the scenes. I really wish those people would let me see their craziness, maybe then I wouldn't feel so bad.

Normally, we do our Christmas shopping very early. In fact, I am usually done or almost done by Thanksgiving because walking in stores after that brings me freakishly close to a nervous breakdown. People, I did not do that this year. I just let time get away. Now, it is14 days before Christmas and I have two presents under the tree. I have a few more waiting to be wrapped. But I have A LOT left to do. And worse, I don't even know what I am going to do.

I am being punished for being prideful, because I do pride myself on being able to come up with really cute, creative gifts. I try to put together fun things for my distant nieces and nephews and really good teacher gifts that don't include teacher ornaments, candles, etc. This year...I've got nothing, NOTHING. I have splintered ideas that I can't quite bring to a finish, and I am running out of time, AAAAAGH!

I don't even have an idea for my own husband (that is another post altogether)! However, he told me yesterday what he had tried to get me. And, ladies, this is the sign of a good man who listens/knows your heart, because I never would have even THOUGHT to ask for this myself. My man.....was going to give me chickens and a chicken coop! I have always wanted a few chickens to get eggs...and he was going to do it. Only, who knew, you can only buy chickens in march! All day yesterday, I just dreamed of chickens and farm fresh eggs. He doesn't even have to do anything else, I am just beside myself that he would come up with that!

In other news, we woke up this morning to cold water again. Apparently our water heater, that has an internal heater so it won't freeze, froze. Which really isn't all that surprising considering our luck with plumbing. However, it sure does make getting a shower tough...so I am blogging instead!

Well, I would love to stay and chat, but I should probably go use my time a little more wisely. Hope everyone has a great weekend filled with Christmas cheer! In the hustle and bustle of it all, remember that the reason for this time is the celebration of the birth of our savior. Spend a little time reading Luke 2 and remembering Jesus left the splendor of heaven, to be born in poverty for you and me!

God bless you!

For more Coffee Talk, go to Home Sanctuary.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Fun!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate, definitely!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He places them strategically by the tree in convenient and well planned piles so that each child knows just where his or her presents are. Remember, the Santa in our house is OCD!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White! I love the story of the lights from Lisa Whelchel's ADVENTure of Christmas. It talks about Martin Luther seeing stars shining through the branches of an evergreen tree and worshipping the creator...I love, now, seeing the lights shining on that tree and remembering Psalm 19:1 "The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship."

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I never have, never really think about it, honestly.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually we begin the day after Thanksgiving. However the past two years we have gone out of town so it just happens as it happens during the following week.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Strangely, it is probably one of the fruit salads we always have with our dinner. They are more dessert than fruit, more calorie laden then healthy fruit...but they are GOOD!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? We travelled every year. First to my mom's mom's house on Christmas Eve, then to my other grandmother's on Christmas Day and we never got to our house till late Christmas night. We always walked in to find Santa had visited...even when in college. He always brought someone a game and we would stay up till ridiculous hours eating candy from the stockings and playing the new game. I loved that!

On a side note, I always wondered how Santa (AKA my mom) always got those presents out. Even in college. I mean, we were OUT OF TOWN! I had grown and was about to graduate college when my sisters explained to me that every year Mom "left her purse" in the house and had to run back for it. It always took a REALLY long time to find that purse. I...never had a clue, if she said she forgot her purse, she forgot her purse! Her secret was good for 20 years!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think my logical mind just couldn't fathom it. When I was about 5, I just asked my parents who he was and they told me.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We let the kids open one gift from us (usually new pajamas) and gifts from my parents and sisters. It seems less stressful than having them do it all on Christmas Day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We bought little apple ornaments the first year we were married to fill up our pitiful little tree. I still put those on the tree. We also have some bead garland we have always used and some little fabric bows that I tied our first Christmas (again, no ornaments!) Other than that, most of the ornaments are the Hallmark ornaments that Nana gives to the kids each year. Once they all move out and take their ornaments, I'll be glad I have the bows and apples!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it! For about 20 minutes!

12. Can you ice skate? I used to when I was a kid...I would most likely hurt something...or someone if I tried now.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No, no I don't, although the tickets to Deeper Still that hubby surprised me with a few years ago is a standout!

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Remembering that we are celebrating the birth of our savior. It is CHRISTmas!!!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Fudge, sugar cookies, Oreo Truffles, coconut chocolate macaroons, peanut butter pie, stocking candy...

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? My favorite old tradition is reading the Christmas story as a family and letting the children add the characters to the nativity scene as they are mentioned in the text. My favorite new tradition began last year. As we get Christmas cards, we put them in a basket on the dining table. Each time we sit down for a meal, we draw out a card and pray for that family.

17. What tops your tree? A bow

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy both. However, I love it when I come up with the perfect gift and see the excitement on the recipient's face!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night, well that is the first one I think of. I actually just love Christmas songs in general.

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? I can live with 'em or without 'em

21 Favorite Christmas Show? "White Christmas" the single greatest Christmas movie of all time!!!!

22. Saddest Christmas Song? There are sad Christmas songs?

Feel free to copy this post and fill it out on your blog. HT- Spesamor Academy

I Have a Confession

I know this will shock some. I may be called a humbug. UnAmerican. A disappointment to bloggy readers everywhere. And yet, I feel compelled to share the ugly truth: I HATE PARADES!!!


Now, don't get me wrong. I have fond memories of Christmas Parades as a child. Standing on the curb, making up dance routines to go along with the bands, picking up the occasional piece of candy. I even enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Parade...as long as I can watch from the comfort of my warm, crowd free home.

Why do I feel the need to share this? Because tonight we were given the opportunity to participate in our city's annual Christmas Parade. Our Student Leadership Association from the tutorial entered and decorated a float and since Football Boy is a member, he was VERY involved. He helped plan, build, and decorate and then they asked Tigerfan if he would drive. Sounded like fun, right?

Now, maybe I should tell you my recent parade history. We live near a small town that proclaims itself the "Strawberry Capital". Every year they have the annual Strawberry Festival and parade. I have taken my children twice. You must get there early, park blocks and blocks away, sit on a tiny spot on the ground where everyone walks all over you and then watch as beauty queen after beauty queen after beauty queen drives by in convertible after convertible after convertible (we are in the south, you know)! It is hours long...okay, to be honest I don't know how long it is because I have never made it through the whole thing. Once the kids lose interest I willingly jump up and begin the long trek back to the car.

Then there was the parade 7 years ago in Gatlinburg, TN. It was a BIG deal. We could hardly find a Hotel room that weekend because of all the people coming to see the parade. You had to get to the parade HOURS early just to get a spot. It was FREEZING even with long underwear and full winter wear. The parade started late. The hot chocolate was cold and the parade was LONG! I still have nightmares, people!

So, I am not sure why I willingly signed up for tonight. But I knew I had made a mistake when I called the teacher that heads up the SLA to find out that we were entry number 269. Yes, you read that right 269! People told me it couldn't be true. People said that there were only 120 entries. I am telling you...there were probably 300...and yes, we were 269. The parade started at 6:30, we finally started moving at 7:30. It was cold, although, to be honest, once it started, we were in the warm cab of the truck.

And who, you may ask, was in this parade? Well, let's see. One Radio station had one or ten of their mobile units entered. One station, many cars...it isn't right, people! There were three tow trucks, a pick up truck with nothing but a back full of hay and the name of an insurance company on the side. A man in a kilt (at least I didn't have to wear a kilt). There were the obligatory beauty queens, kids dressed as packages and even one vehicle draped in garland and the name of a business written in shoe polish on the windows. Apparently, the one and only requirement to be in this parade was mobility.

To make it worse, as we were stuck in this line, in a most undesirable area of town, with nowhere to go, my MIL called to say that Tigercub had 104 degree fever and was jumping or startling every few minutes. I just about came unglued.

At the end of the parade, L, the teacher over the SLA began discussing next year's float. I am pretty sure I have unalterable plans for the first Monday in December next year.

Daybook 12/07/09

FOR TODAY December 7, 2009...

Outside my window...It is still dark and very still and peaceful. I HATE getting up in the morning, but once I do, I love the peace of a quiet house!

I am thinking...My brain is swimming! I have a dear friend coming into town today and I am hoping to get to see her. My Christmas to do list is ever growing and I need to focus. I am frustrated with myself for not being the organized, talented, creative genius that I wish I was and equally frustrated with myself for not just accepting myself for who God created me to be. I am like an adolescent girl in an old ladies' body!

I am thankful for...all the wonderful people doing my Christmas shopping for me. I have people in Idaho and Louisiana helping me with my list...one has even purchased their own gift. Pitiful, I know, but I am grateful! But mostly I am thankful for the most wonderful Momma in the entire world! Happy Birthday Momma!

From the learning rooms...Mostly the usual, but trying to have a little Christmas fun. I even made a little file folder game for Dancer, trying to have fun learning, not my strongest point! We have also put our regular Bible Study on hold and are just doing Christmas, learning the religious significance of certain traditions.

From the kitchen...Something with chicken...that's all I've got!

I am wearing...workout clothes! I am TRYING to get back into my exercise routine. Today was good, well good in that I did it, however, I have a love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels.

I am creating...nothing, but I hope to be creating some lovely gift bags for teachers and baked goods soon.

I am going...possibly to see my friend who has just come back into the country after her husband's deployment in Germany. My hubby is also supposed to drive a vehicle tonight in our city's Christmas parade for our home school tutorial, if it doesn't get rained out.

I am reading...Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd. Just as encouraging and helpful the second time around!

I am hoping...for a smooth school day, it has been a rough year and I am ready for less drama!

I am hearing...the hum of the computer and the tapping of the keys and that is all! I love it!

Around the house...Usual Monday activities. Laundry, bathrooms, hopefully bed linens changed. However, my priorities are school and seeing my friend so some of those things may get pushed aside.

One of my favorite things...When my wild, loud, energetic almost two year old stops what he is doing and hugs my neck! My heart melts! Oh! and when we find THE Christmas gift we have been searching for and it is on sale!

A few plans for the rest of the week:Visiting with a friend, Christmas parade, dance, guitar, church and hopefully finishing up some shopping.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Football Boy at his Rock Band concert a couple of weeks ago. Tigerfan made a poster out of one of the pictures and printed it, framed it and had him autograph it and took it to his office! He was proud!

For more Daybooks, go to The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Coffee Talk 12.04.09

Good Morning, Company Girls! This is the first time I have blogged, other than a contest post, in two weeks! I have been missing it like crazy! However, life gets in the way, sometimes! I have had so many posts in mind for recent days, but as each day has closed around midnight...I just have lost the inspiration to sit and type and have gone to bed instead. I could probably have weeks worth of posts, but truly...I think I'll just type up a quick recap and try to get back on track next week!
Two weeks ago we left the plains of West Tennesse for the rolling hills of West Virginia. We spent two pretty leisurely days driving (as leisurely as driving can be with four adults and four children, because Tigerfan's parents went with us). We stopped several times to shop and see sights. Our first stop was about 2 hours into the trip when we fled into Target to replace the pacifiers I had left at home. This was ESSENTIAL because 1 toddler plus 4 adults and three other children in a car for over 10 hours provides a NEED for a stopper!
After arriving at Tigerfan's Aunt's house she BLESSED him with a big hot pot of gumbo..the way to his Louisiana heart! The next day the boys went to the pro-football Hall of Fame, which they loved while the girls and Tigercub shopped. In a very small mall. For a very long time. And then...on Tuesday...we went to Amish country. Oh. my. soul. I am telling you, I KNOW God doesn't make mistakes...but my heart is in Amish country. To drive down the road behind a horse and buggy, or look out a window and see the "buggy parking" sign, or to go to the cheese factory and bakery and sample all the Amish made goods. I pleaded with Tigerfan to buy me a house there...but he said no. I begged Baseball boy to buy me a chicken, he said he would if I would buy him a horse and buggy. We are home. No chicken. No horse and buggy. Sigh!
We returned to Tigerfan's aunt's for a delicious Thanksgiving meal complete with fried turkey and rice dressing. Mmmmmmm! And then after a bitter black Friday attempt at getting a good price on a Christmas present for Football boy, we began the return trip. With Tigerfan fussing the WHOLE way about what America was coming to when you have to get up at 3:00 in the morning just to get in line to HOPE to get a good price on an item...I try not to bring it up too often, he is still tender!
Anyway, this week has been filled with laundry, school and getting back into routine. The house is mostly decorated for Christmas, although the outside wreaths are yet to be hung. Like everyone, the next few weeks are FILLED with activities we must choose between and I am trying like crazy to make sure that Jesus doesn't get lost in the midst of it all.
As for Small Things, I did GREAT in November. I completed EVERY task until the last day when we were out of town and I didn't have a printer. I was so proud of myself! And then...I FORGOT to turn in my points! Can you believe that? But, I am off to a good start this month! I am back on track with my exercising and spent 15 glorious minutes sitting with Tigercub reading yesterday...and soon I will be cleaning my kitchen counters off for today's points!
I have missed everyone greatly and can't wait to hop around and see how everyone is doing. I am leaving you with a few pics of the house all decorated up. Last year I participated in one of the little bloggy Christmas tours, so if you did that...these will look familiar, they are the same ones...but, you see, I do not have a decorating bone in my body, so once we figure out how to do what we like, it stays like that forever (or until Tigerfan changes it), so my house looks the same this year!
Have a blessed weekend!

For more Coffee Talk, go to Home Sanctuary!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Check it Out

I have been planning all week to get on here and post and it just hasn't happened. Hopefully I'll be back this evening. However, until then, I found this series at You Can Make This and thought it looked fun. I probably won't have time to make a lot this year, but I will definitely store up the ideas for future use. There is also chances to win prizes just by watching the how to videos so go check it out!