Monday, March 31, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

It continues to be rainy and cold! Today I went to the grocery store after school and bought my usual heaping cart full of groceries. Then I paid for them and told the bagger, "No problem! I can take them out myself." So I headed out the door only to discover it had started raining pretty hard. I didn't have my umbrella, so I just pulled the hood of my jacket up and started looking for my car. The only problem was I couldn't remember where I parked!! (I was on the phone when I went into the store and wasn't paying attention.) So I walked ALL OVER that grocery store parking lot in the rain with all those groceries. Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself.

Here is what my trunk looked like today.




Here is my receipt!!



And the crazy thing is....that will only get me through about half a week! My kids are eating me out of house and home!! :)

Can spring break get here soon enough? The other night we were talking and remembering last year about this time. I took the girls to New York City for four days. Oh my goodness, we had so. much. fun.!!! We all love it there! We stayed in Midtown Manhattan. We shopped (we have a few wild stories about going literally underground for designer purses!), did some sightseeing, ate great food, and went to see Wicked, which was wonderful!!



Here we are at Starbucks, where I think we went about 15 times a day!!



Ashley and me at a little bagel shop. Bagels for breakfast are a must in NYC!!



I wanted to stop by the HUGE Scholastic store in SoHo, which was a teacher's dream come true! Laura and Lindy had to try on the Harry Potter attire. They are the two biggest fans on the planet!




Here we are before Wicked eating dinner at Maria Pia's. Yummy Italian!




It snowed while we were there, which was beautiful, and we even got to meet Ann Curry at the Today Show!!



We were soooo excited about that. I love the Today show. During the summer, I wake up with Matt, Meredith, Ann, and Al every day! :) And I even TiVo it!

Speaking of the Today show, I was excited to hear today that Kathie Lee Gifford is joining the show! Some people don't like her and think she's cheesey. But I always really enjoyed her when she was on Regis and Kathie Lee! I'm glad she's back.

So...just another Monday. Looking forward to next week and hanging on until then!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Happy Sunday!

A few random thoughts today.

*Mark officially asked Brilyn to the prom by filling her car with balloons.


Then he left a note on her window telling her she had to pop all the balloons to find a note inside with a special message.




The message said, "Prom?" Good thing he has two sisters who are his assistants and helped him blow up all the balloons and put them in her car so Brilyn wouldn't accidentally look out the window and see Mark's car in front of her house.

*I love our Sunday School class. We went to lunch today after church with several couples from our class. They are such a sweet group. They are really an encouragement to me!

*I am thankful for a church who cares about our students and who also cares about the hurting people in our city. Today our seniors went to the homeless shelter to serve lunch. After they served up Sonny's BBQ, they sat down at the tables to talk and visit with the people there. Mark truly enjoyed it. I want my kids to put what they say they believe into practice. I want them to be God's hands and feet in this world. I'm glad Mark got that opportunity today.

*My good friend, Candy, came over for about an hour today. She's been gone for over a week taking care of her mother who had a hip replacement. I missed her! It was nice just chatting and catching up. I'm thankful for sweet friends who feel like family!

*It's a VERY cold day here, but it's okay. I've got my comfy sweats on, my house is warm and cozy, and my laundry is pretty much done. We've got the NCAA tournament on and we are totally pulling for Davidson--the Cinderella team! And I've got dinner already cooked. Could it get any better??

Shrimp, Grits, and Prom Dresses

I love weekends! I am always so in need of them when they arrive. Last night Steve and I went to one of our favorite little local restaurants, Cajun Yard Dog (that means alligator in Cajun!) It has the best food and live music on weekend nights. It's just a tiny little place with a laid back vibe....which I am totally into after my busy, hectic week! Last night I got shrimp and grits. You know how much we love our grits here in the south. And I LOVE shrimp. If you are not from around here, this may sound a little crazy, but believe me, it is delicious!! I love the shrimp and grits I get when I'm in Charleston, SC, but the cajun version is just as yummy.



Here is a good recipe for the Low Country (Charleston) version of shrimp and grits if you ever want to try it! You won't be disappointed, I promise!

I was impressed with how much I got done today. :) Our dog, Rocky, was up all night last night with an upset stomach. That was fun...NOT!! So I slept in a little late, but once I was up, I got moving. Lindy spent the night with a friend, so Laura and I got Starbucks and went to Target. I bought a little Dirt Devil hand vac & am in love with that thing!! I used to have one, but it died. So I'm back in business now. I got laundry done, cooked lunch, swept and vacuumed, then headed off to Laura and Lindy's softball game. It was FREEZING!!!! What happened to spring all of a sudden?

After the game, we took the rest of the afternoon to shop for prom dresses. Girl time! It was fun, and the best part is I got some jeans at Banana Republic, too! We had to take some pictures, of course.


Two of their favorites!



Now we are enjoying some pizza and watching Carolina beat Louisville! So far, so good! Did you know that I am tied for second place in my little school wide competition??? About 50 people participated...teachers, their husbands, etc. Who knew I would be so lucky? That is just funny!

One last little thing. I am loving
this stationery!!


If you have time, you should browse through all the cute stuff they have! I am always needing little note cards at school and these are perfect.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fun and Games

We are big game players at my house--especially at Christmas time and on vacations! We love Catch Phrase and Monopoly and Scattergories and any other fun board games. And we also like to play cards. Every time we have a snow day or sometimes on a weekend night, we will get together with our next door neighbors and play Oh He** or Spades. Many hours at the beach have been spent playing cards with them. Fun times! And my in-laws love to play Beacon Hill Rummy. We go over and play with them from time to time. All my kids love to play cards and have games going all the time in the summer. Sometimes it's fun to play games online, too!

I guess since I teach kindergarten, I am always looking for fun sites and games for children. I found THE CUTEST website the other day. It is by an artist named Jenny B. Harris. I love her work and her website is really fun!


If you have children, they might have enjoy making this gingerbread house!



Or little girls might like dressing up this adorable bunny!




She has cute clothes like these.





I used to LOVE paper dolls and this is like a virtual paper doll!

Another great website for learning games is called Starfall.


Let your children go here and they will have a great time playing while they learn!

Did you ever play with a Lite Brite when you were a kid?


That was such a fun toy! You can play with a virtual Lite Brite here.

And if you are into word games like I am, you will love playing a game called Text Twist. You have 6-7 scrambled letters and you have to see how many words you can make in about 2-3 minutes. Laura and I play this and it sucks you in! You keep wanting to try it over and over!

Text Twist



I found these next games on my brother's blog, Thirteen Thoughts. Lindy and I sat down and tried these together one afternoon. It was fun!

How many countries can you name in 5 minutes?


Click here to try it!



Now see how many colors you can name in 5 minutes!

Well, that's all the games I have for now. Hope you had a little fun! Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Simple Pleasures

"That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest."-Henry David Thoreau

I'm thinking about simple pleasures today.

*One of the best was this afternoon, sitting on my porch enjoying the absolutely beautiful afternoon. Here is the view from my chair:




*It was planning day at school today. That means all of the kindergarten teachers get together for the whole day and plan and discuss and socialize a little bit (we have THE BEST team!) while a volunteer teaches our class! We even get to go out to lunch together. How much fun is that? Fun with friends AND getting your lesson plans finished!

*Fajitas for dinner. MMMmmmm! They are easy and pretty healthy and they are a crowd pleaser at my house. No arguments there!

*Finding these adorable children's books at school today. I can't wait to read them to my class!





*My favorite time of night--after the kitchen is cleaned up and I prop up the pillows on my bed and watch my TiVo'd shows. I watch The View every night--usually just the Hot Topics unless there is a guest I really want to see. My favorite co-host is Elisabeth....thank goodness there is someone who stands up for what I believe in. But I enjoy the discussion and banter on that show.



*Reading a good book and falling asleep! I'm almost done with the book I'm reading now. I would love any suggestions for a good book you would recommend! I'm going to Florida in about 10 days and I need a new one.


Hope you enjoyed some simple pleasures today
!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This and That

Last night was fun! We took Mark and his girlfriend, Brilyn, and his best friend, Michael out to dinner at Lone Star Steakhouse. That's his favorite and we go just about every year for his birthday! Then we came back to our house for a big cookie! Here are a few pictures from the night:

Mark and Brilyn



My boy!



Mark and Laura and Lindy



Brilyn, Mark, and Michael



I wanted to share something really good with you. I found this over Christmas and served it sort of as a "party drink". I loved it then, but forgot about it after Christmas. But I found it again this week at the grocery store and it is so yummy and refreshing on a warm day. If you like GingerAle, give this a try!



So, I'm going to play along with Kelly's American Idol game. On American Idol last night the contestants had to sing songs from the year they were born. Kelly asked if we had to pick songs from the year we were born, which songs would we sing? Well, I was born in 1964, and most of the songs that were popular then were by the Beatles. But I think we've had enough Beatles songs on AI! So, here are the songs I think I'd pick:

1-Where Did Our Love Go?-The Supremes

2-My Guy-Mary Wells

3-You Don't Own Me-Leslie Gore (this one is really fun to sing...I always sing along when I hear it!)

4-Walk On By-Dionne Warwick

There wasn't a whole lot to choose from that year!! :) Too bad I wasn't born in the '70's!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

18!

There's something monumental about turning 18--especially if it's happening to you! It's kind of like you're turning the page from childhood into adulthood. You can vote, you can register for the draft. Today is Mark's 18th birthday!



Eighteen years ago yesterday I was at my sister-in-law's house flying a kite with Ashley when I went into labor. The next day, with Steve watching the NCAA tournament out of one eye, Mark was born. He was the cutest baby you've ever seen. He had a head full of black hair and pretty dark skin. I was in love instantly.








And, do you know that that boy has brought nothing but joy and happiness to us ever since? If I can brag just a little bit...he has always been known by all my friends and neighbors as one of the most polite little boys around. Don't you know that made me so proud?? He is smart, he's caring, he has a great smile and sense of humor. He's a leader and he's athletic. And he has a fun, upbeat personality. He's just enjoyable to be around! He has never given us a minute of trouble in all his 18 years. God has just totally blessed us with such a wonderful, sweet, and loving boy! He means the world to us! I love you so much, Mark!! Happy 18th Birthday!








Now, if everyone would pray for him and me....he is going skydiving this Sunday for his birthday! I know it is very safe, but I am having a hard time thinking about it. Please pray that he will be safe!! :) This is totally a guy thing--Steve is having no problem with it at all! I guess I'm just an overprotective mom!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Recap

Our Easter weekend was very nice. Saturday night, after Steve and Mark worked in the yard all day, we went to dinner with Steve's parents at La Unica, one of our favorite little Mexican restaurants. Then we came home to watch basketball (what else??!!)and Laura and Lindy dyed eggs with friends.



Saturday night Ashley was attending the wedding of one of her good friends, Amanda. Amanda was Ashley's big sis in Chi-O and is a die-hard fan of the University of South Carolina and even had her wedding in the football stadium! Here are a couple of pictures of Ashley and John, her boyfriend. She and John have been together now for four years. We love him!

This is Ashley and John with Cocky, the USC mascot!






Easter morning, Ashley and John drove home so they could join us for the service. It was so nice having everybody together. Mark brought his girlfriend, too, so we had a whole pew full of us!

After church we went to my mom's house for lunch. Both my brothers and their families were there along with two of my aunts. We had Honeybaked ham, potato casserole, green beans, baked beans, seven layer salad, asparagus casserole, deviled eggs, rolls, tea, and Italian cream cake for dessert! It was so yummy. We didn't even really need to eat dinner. Here is how my seven layer salad turned out:



The rest of the day was just relaxing and finishing up a few things in the yard. I had today off and tomorrow, too! I am totally loving this break. Hope your week is off to a great start!

PS--I got 12 out of the Sweet 16 right in the NCAA Tournament! Yayy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Saturday

Isn't this a pretty spring picture? I saw it on Flickr and thought it was amazing.



Just a few things to be happy about today:

* 25 out of 32 of the teams I picked won the first round of the NCAA Tournament! Pretty good for a novice like me! :)

*This perfume:


It smells so fresh and springy to me. I think I'll have to switch over from Clinique Happy for a while.

*We have grass again! Yayy!

Mark and Steve about to "roll out the carpet".


They worked so hard putting it all in place!



I love my backyard (and my front yard, too!)


*I know this is crazy, but I found another gift card! I checked online last night and it has almost $100 dollars on it. What is my deal with forgetting about these cards???!! Anyway-I'm looking at one of these in either white or green:




*I shared a recipe yesterday for a great spring salad, but here are a couple more dessert recipes that I love to fix in the spring or summer.

This one is super easy!

Pig Picking Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 can mandarin oranges

Mix cake mix, eggs, and oil well. Blend in oranges. Bake in 3 9" cake pans at 325 for about 20 minutes.
Frosting: 1 small box instant vanilla pudding
9 oz. Cool Whip
Large can pineapple with juice
Mix pudding, Cool Whip and pineapple. Spread over layers, top, and sides.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This one sounds a little crazy, but trust me, it is delicious!

Blueberry Banana Pie
Two graham cracker pie crusts
Slice bananas lengthwise into pie shells--sprinkle with lemon juice.

Prepare 2 pkgs. Dream Whip per directions on package.

Mix 8 oz. cream cheese (softened) with 1 cup sugar.

Add cream cheese mixture to Dream Whip.

Spoon 1/2 can blueberry pie filling over bananas on each pie.

Top with Dream Whip mixture. Chill.

Take one of your pies to a friend!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday


Happy Good Friday!

For some reason, we did not get Good Friday off, so I had to work today. But I am looking forward to a nice long weekend, since we are off Monday and Tuesday. Steve is out in the yard putting down sod because our drought was so bad last year that it ruined all of our grass. Pretty soon we will have a beautiful, green lawn again!

We had thought about going to a Good Friday service tonight, but I know he will be really tired from working so hard all day in the yard and I am ready to chill out after this busy week. So, I'm thinking it might be dinner and renting a movie tonight! Sounds good to me!

I am going to my mom's for Easter lunch on Sunday and I am bringing one of my favorite spring salads--Seven Layer Salad. It is so pretty in a big glass bowl, plus it is really delicious. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Seven Layer Salad

1 head of lettuce, chopped
1 c. diced celery
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 (10 oz.)box of frozen peas or one can small sweet peas
1 c. green pepper, chopped
1 c. grated carrots
1 sm. purple onion, diced
8 slices fried bacon, crumbled
1 can water chestnuts

Dressing
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing MIx (1 oz. size)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 container sour cream (8 oz. size)

Layer salad ingredients as listed, starting with lettuce in a large glass bowl. Spread salad dressing on top. Top with 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.