Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Got Tagged!

Oh Wow!! I have never been tagged before, but I got tagged by my sweet blogging friend, Megan & just realized it!! How fun!!

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Hmm.....let's see. It was 1998 & I had an 11 year old, an 8 year old, and 7 year old twins and I was only 34! I was teaching kindergarten at Carmel Christian School with 3 of my very best friends and having so much fun doing it. I lived in an awesome neighborhood full of lots of couples our age and lots of kids for our kids to play with. And of course, we were very active in our church and with our families. Life was good!!

Five Things On My To-Do List Today
1. Laundry!!
2. Lesson Plans
3. Run to Wal-Mart
4. Send an e-mail to the ladies in my Sunday School class
5. Pick up a prescription

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
*Send all my kids to any college anywhere completely debt free
*Pay for all my daughters' weddings with cash
*Hire an interior decorator
*TRAVEL!!!! (so many places we want to go!)
*Give to my church
*Invest
*Donate money to several charities
*Buy a house in Florida and an apartment in NYC and maybe one in Colorado!
*Help any family members who needed it

Three of my bad habits
*Drinking too much coke and not enough water
*Staying up too late
*Making piles of stuff instead of just putting it away--especially books and magazines!

Five Places I Have Lived
*Baton Rouge, Louisiana
*Waco, Texas
*Nashville, Tennessee
*Columbia, Tennessee
*Charlotte, North Carolina

Five Jobs I Have Had:
*Scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins (Steve worked there, too!! We were both 15 and had our first kiss in the walk in freezer!!)
*Selling candy at the Sears candy counter
*Medical transcriptionist for a vascular surgeon when I was in college at Carolina
*Transcribing interviews in the Oral History department at Baylor University
*Teaching!!

I tag:
Anyone who wants to play along! :)

All My Children

On any given day, I can come home to find not only my own children, but usually 1-3 more!! Our next door neighbor, Michael, is one of Mark's best friends and he just lets himself in. He and Mark share an X-box and it is upstairs in our bonus room, so sometimes I'll be just working around the house or cooking dinner and all of a sudden I'll hear, "Hi, Mrs. Maddox!" and it will scare me to death. He's been here the whole time and I didn't even know it! (Even if Mark's not here, he hangs out.)

Today when I got home, one of Laura and Lindy's friends, Melissa (not my neighbor, another Melissa) was over. I went up to the bonus room and was talking with them and she said, "Mrs. Maddox, can I be on your blog tonight?" So I am putting her on!! Of course she can be on my blog!!!

So, here are some of "my children"...Laura, Lindy, Melissa, and another Laura!


They were just about to watch 27 Dresses which I picked up for them while I was at Wal-Mart today. I thought it was really a cute movie. I'm looking forward to watching it again!


And here is Michael playing on the computer. (Mark was at the Y!!)


Tonight I could have any number of other kids stop by wondering what's for dinner or hanging out to do homework. But that's okay!! Pretty soon my house will be empty and I'll be wishing for a full house again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NOT A FAN!!

When I got home from school today, I walked to my mailbox and I could hear Rocky barking his head off!!! I thought he was barking at the dog behind us, but when I went outside to call him in, I could see that he was barking at something in the natural area. I didn't really want to investigate. I didn't want to know what it was!! Our last dog, Buddy, a beagle, died after getting bit in the face by a copperhead in our backyard.

Anyway, I came in and started doing some things when a knock came at my door. It was Melissa, my neighbor, Candy's daughter. She said, "Could Mark come down and help us kill a snake?" So I sent Mark down to the rescue. A few minutes later, Candy came by and said, "You've got to come see this snake. You aren't going to believe it!"

She was right. Oh my goodness, that thing was HUGE!! Mark cut its head off with a hoe in the driveway. (He said he felt bad about it, though.) Look how long that thing was!! Over three feet even without its head!



Here is its head still in the grass. Eeeeewwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Candy is trying to scrub the blood off the driveway with coke.



Ok--NO THANK YOU!!!! I am so NOT A FAN of snakes!! I'm still not sure if that's what Rocky was barking at in our yard and I don't think I ever want to know. But I did put it in a box to take to school tomorrow. haha We are learning about oviparous animals (animals that lay eggs) and they will be amazed! :)

On a totally different note, Ashley went to see Kenny Chesney Saturday night in Columbia. It was a HUGE concert in their football stadium. She told us that as he was coming up on an elevator at the beginning of the concert, his foot got caught in the trap door!! He couldn't get it out and had to stop singing.

Here is the YouTube video of it.

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This is what the paper had to say:
The show went on, but Kenny Chesney was in obvious pain Saturday night (April 26) after bones in his foot were crushed during an equipment malfunction as his performance began in Columbia, S.C. The sold-out concert before a crowd of 44,424 at Williams-Brice Stadium was the first stadium date of his current Poets & Pirates tour.

Though his toes sustained most of the damage -- and he is basically a hematoma from the ankle down, Chesney -- who needed two shots of morphine for pain after leaving the stage -- is optimistic that careful monitoring this weekend and paying attention to the wear and tear this week will return him to full flexibility and strength in a matter of weeks.

Isn't that crazy??

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recipes and Projects

The weather has been crazy here today. It has rained all day and we even had a tornado drill at school today! Do you remember those? All the kids have to get in the hall and ball up with their hands covering their heads and their little behinds up in the air. They had to stay that way for about 10 minutes!

This weekend I spent some time looking through my new cookbooks and I found a couple of recipes that look yummy. The one that really piqued my interest first was in The Comfort Table and it was for fried green tomatoes!! Oh my goodness...tomatoes in the summer are THE BEST. But sometimes it's hard to wait for them to ripen. So, this recipe will help whet your appetite!

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 c. cornmeal
1 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 large green tomatoes (like beefsteak, Big Boy, or Celebrity), sliced 1/2 inch thick.

In a medium shallow bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Fill a small shallow bowl with buttermilk. Place the bowls side by side next to the stove.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. The oil should be hot but not smoking.

Dip the tomatoes in buttermilk and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Fry the tomatoes in batches if necessary, until the crust is golden brown and crunchy, 4-5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Transfer the tomatoes to a serving plate.


And there, you've got summertime on a plate!!



I love that in just a few weeks I am going to have lots more time to try new recipes and get little projects done around the house. I did get my closet cleaned out over the weekend, though!! I took two huge bags of clothes to Goodwill!

One project I'm looking at is painting Ashley's bathroom and changing her bedroom. Right now Ashley's bathroom is done in a very teenage-y version of blue and yellow with a daisy shower curtain. You should see the color of her walls...pool water blue! I think it's about time we changed that considering that Ashley is only with us for a few months out of the year. I think she's pretty much outgrown those colors anyway. As soon as school is out, we're going to get busy!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Update

We have had a great weekend. Yesterday we slept in a little late, then I thought I'd do something a little different....haha....you guessed it! LAUNDRY!!! (What else?)

Our school was having a little outdoor carnival called the Duck Race to raise money.



There actually was a duck race,(where you buy a duck with an assigned number and you win if your duck wins the race down a water slide to the opposite side of the pool) in addition to face painting, moon bounces, etc... I took Ashley and Laura and Lindy with me. As we were standing there talking to some of my students and their parents, we began to feel a few big splashy raindrops and before I could finish the conversation, it started raining LIKE CRAZY!!! It was so funny, really. We all had to run as fast as we could back to the car, which was a long way off! By the time we got there, we were absolutely drenched!

We spent alot of time on the porch yesterday enjoying the outside. I even fell asleep out there! Last night Lindy and Laura made us a homemade buffalo chicken pizza and salad. We just hung out at home!

After church today we went to lunch at Salsa's with our sweet friends Wes and Katie. We love spending time with them! Then it was back to church for my niece, Bailey's, baby dedication. Our church does a great job of making it really special. Bailey was a little squirmy, though! :)

This is my brother, Brent and his wife Britney with Bailey.





I can't believe the weekend is over and it's time to start another week! Ready or not!

Friday, April 25, 2008

44!

Well, I think I accidentally gave the impression yesterday that I had some big news to share today. Haha....no, it's nothing huge...just my birthday today!!



(Otherwise I'm just looking forward to summer because school is going to be out soon--YAY!)

The birthday fun started yesterday, though, when my team got me a cookie cake. Then last night my parents brought over dinner. Mmmmmm....let's see, we had country style steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, black eyed peas, salad with strawberries, mandarin oranges, cashews, and poppy seed dressing, rolls, orange tea, and pig-pickin' cake!!! Am I spoiled or what?? They also gave me a great church cookbook (which are always the best tried and true recipes), a watch that has different beaded bands that you can swap out, and an adorable bag!! They are always so sweet and thoughtful.



We enjoyed that dinner out on our porch. The weather here for the past two days has been bordering on hot, which is how I like it!! Today it is 81 degrees!! LOVE IT!

My class was soooo sweet today. Lots of hugs and kisses and well wishes. I got a beautiful pot full of flowers for my porch from Toni, my TA. The class gave me two gift cards (Nordstrom and Pier One) and a cute monogrammed insulated coffee cup and tons of cards.



This afternoon, my in-laws dropped by with a cute little birdbath and some pretty notecards. They stayed and visted for a while. Then, tonight we went to dinner downtown at a restaurant called Mimosa Grille. Here are some pictures of our night out.

It got windy all of a sudden when we got there!







When we got back home, I opened my presents from my family. My kids got me a really cute pink blouse and black dressy bermuda shorts. Guess what Steve got me? If you saw my blog a few days ago, I said I wanted a couple of books. I guess he has been reading my blog, because he got me both books! Plus he got me Adobe Photoshop!!! YAY! I have been wanting that!



My friend, Candy, came over tonight and brought me the sweetest little key chain that has an angel on it and a sweet quote about friendship. She also gave me a gift certificate to Stein Mart. I can't wait to use that!

The best thing about birthdays is just the phone calls, e-mails, and cards that make the day so special. God has blessed me so much. Looking forward to the year ahead!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can You Guess?

I've got some fun things to share, but I am going to wait until tomorrow. Tonight I'm keeping my resolution to go to bed earlier!! :)

So...I thought I'd post some really pretty pictures that make me smile!

Can you guess what I'm looking forward to???? Only 33 more school days!

Summer Relaxation


Summer chillin'

Summer Roses

Summer Nights!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just A Normal Wednesday!

So today was just a normal Wednesday!! Here are some things that I did today:

*Taught 21 kindergarteners
*Attended a staff meeting
*Went with Laura and Lindy to pick up their altered prom dresses
*Cleaned my bedroom and put away laundry
*Loaded and ran the dishwasher
*Went to dinner with Laura and Lindy at Salsa's
*Bought a cute blouse at Limited
*Sent some e-mails
*Got an estimate for someone to clean my house
*Watched Laura and Lindy make a cookie cake for one of their best friend's birthdays!

So, you see, it has been business as usual around here. Now I'm getting ready to put on my pajamas, read a little, and watch American Idol! I thought David Archuleta and David Cook did great last night, as always. And even Syesha did well I thought!! Poor Brooke!! I felt so bad for her. I think I'm ready to see Jason Castro go!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Onslaught

Being the mother of three teenage girls has both its amazing and wonderful moments and its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is helping my girls feel good about who they are and what they have to offer. Teenage girls are constantly measuring themselves by everything they see in magazines, tv, and movies. All those images make it hard to feel like you measure up.

I also have a class full of sweet little 5 and 6 year old girls who are so precious. When I think about the years ahead of them, it seems a little daunting to me! They are so confident right now and believe they can do anything! I want them to stay that strong through those rocky teenage years and know they have worth and value just as they are!

I saw this today and thought it was very thought provoking! I really like Dove and its campaign to give real women and real girls self confidence!
It's called Onslaught.



There is song by Steven Curtis Chapman that we have always loved called The Fingerprints of God. Wow! This song totally says just what I want to say to all the girls out there struggling with trying to be someone they're not.

I can see the tears filling Your eyes
And I know where they're coming from
They're coming from a heart that's broken in two
By what you don't see
The person in the mirror
Doesn't look like the magazine
Oh, but when I look at you it's clear to me that...

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God's hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He's been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art and...

Just look at you
You're a wonder in the making
Oh, and God's not through, no
In fact, He's just getting started



I love that!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun Stuff

One of my favorite artists/authors is named Susan Branch. If you haven't heard of her, you should check out her website!! I love all of her adorable books and calendars and own many of them. I love to give them for gifts, as well. They are always a hit! Here are a few of the books that I own and I wanted to share them with you and tell you that you won't be disappointed if you get one.

This little book is always on my coffee table at Christmas time!! It has great ideas for decorating, gift giving, and wonderful recipes, too!



I absolutely love this book. It is a daytimer that takes you through all the seasons with ideas and quotes and seasonal drawings. Very whimsical and fun!



Here is what Amazon has to say about this book...
Girlfriends Forever is about the joys of sharing everything with a good friend: recipes; style, decorating, and wardrobe tips; memories; and party ideas. Susan Branch, in her appealing, personal style, tells of her life with her friends, from her exhilarating experience of meeting the Beatles to her Tuesday Girls get-togethers, and offers tips on the art of the home. Sprinkled throughout are her thoughts on food and love, all highlighted by quotes and fresh, vivid watercolours. The recipes have a winning combination of snappy taste and healthy, low-fat ingredients, and contain complete nutritional information.



Here is an example of one of her calendars. She is so creative and inspiring!



Check out her website when you have time!
_____________________________________________________________________________________

I also had a couple of recipes I wanted to share with you. These are both veggie recipes that I really like! You can never get enough of those, right???

Green Bean Bundles

3 cans long green beans
6 slices bacon, cut in half
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. allspice
1 c. green bean juice

Gather green beans into small bundles and wrap with half a slice of bacon. Bring brown sugar, allspice, and green bean juice to a boil and pour over beans. Bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy!


Broccoli-Cauliflower Medley

1 bunch fresh broccoli, cut up
1 bunch cauliflower, cut up
1 red pepper, chopped
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 c. butter
salt and pepper

Steam broccoli and cauliflower. In saucepan, cook butter, diced red pepper, garlic, and mustard. Put steamed veggies in dish, then pour butter mixture over and toss.

Warm in oven at 300 for about 10-15 minutes. Delicious!!!

Hope you're having a great Monday!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Conviction

I have been thinking alot this weekend about how much we have and what kind of job we are doing as stewards of all that God has given us! Last Thursday when I was cleaning my porch from all that pollen, I was watching Oprah out of the corner of my eye.



Her show that day was about living with less. It grabbed my attention and made me stop and think.

Did you know that Americans make up just 5 percent of the world's population but use up 25 percent of the world's resources? I started thinking about my family and how much we throw away. Our trash can is always more full than anyone else's on the street! We do recycle, but I have become even more aware of anything I could put in recycling.

How about all the water bottles we use???



Laura and Lindy take one every single day in their lunch. Steve went out today and got two reusable bottles for them to take. There is no reason to use a different bottle every day....where do all those bottles go when you're done??

I am usually so pressed for time that when I go to the grocery store, I often end up buying things that I actually already had in my fridge or pantry. Not this weekend! I double checked my grocery list and made sure I only got what I needed! I'm thinking about stopping our paper towels--we can use dish towels!! And I totally need to make smaller portions for our family. There are many times when we throw food away. That is just such an ungrateful and wasteful thing to do.

This weekend, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Rocks In My Dryer, and saw this news story. Did you know that in Haiti right now, they are so desparate for food that they are eating DIRT???? What on earth????



You really need to take a minute to watch this video. It is just so sad. That is a level of poverty that we will never know.

We are all so very blessed. My heart is heavy for people who are living in such terrible circumstances. I know I will be praying for them. I will also try to do a better job of cutting back, reusing, recycling. It's just the right thing to do!

As I was thinking about all these things this weekend, I remembered an old e-mail I had saved in my mailbox. It resonated with me when I read it the first time and it came to mind again today, so I wanted to share it with you!

A Keeper

I grew up in the forties with practical parents --

a Mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it.

She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it...

A Father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away.

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other.

It was the time for fixing things -- a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy.

All that re-fixing, reheating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful.

Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my Mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any 'more.'

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return.

So...while we have it...it's best we love it.....and care for it.....and fix it when it's broken.....and heal it when it's sick.

This is true.....for marriage.....and old cars.....and children with bad report cards.....and dogs with bad hips.....and aging parents.....and grandparents.

We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

Some things we keep.

Like a best friend that moved away -- or -- a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.....and so, we keep them close!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

TGIS!! :)

Last week was really, really hectic for me. I don't know why I felt so overwhelmed, but I just did. So I was sooooo happy that Saturday was finally here today. Sometimes you just need a weekend to recover from the week!

I didn't have anything on my agenda today which is the way I like it! But this afternoon it has been cloudy and a little rainy and I have had a headache all day. Sometimes I get those when it is overcast or rainy...I think it has to do with the barometric pressure? So I haven't gotten to enjoy the day as much as I would have liked to. Oh well, I'm sure it will be gone tomorrow!

Tonight Steve and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Thai Orchid. I got my favorite chicken stir fried with basil and chilies and Steve got pud thai. After that we went to Barnes and Noble for a little while. I saw two new books that I would like.

This one looks really good!! I looked at all the recipes and they look delicious and the kind of food I normally like to cook. It is by Katie Lee Joel who is married to Billy Joel now.



Another book I saw was by Elizabeth Berg who is one of my favorite authors. I don't know anything about this one, but I really like her, so I would probably like it!



I think we are going to watch a movie tonight & maybe eat some ice cream. I'll leave you with a really pretty picture of one of my FAVORITE flowers!!! Enjoy your night! :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lots To Catch Up On!

Here is the up side of spring: North Carolina's state tree is the dogwood and they are absolutely gorgeous right now.



This one is in my back yard and I just love the lacy look of it.



Azaleas are in full bloom too. Isn't this one pretty?



There is a down side to spring, though. The POLLEN!!! When I got home yesterday, it was such a beautiful day, I decided to get a book and go sit on my back porch and enjoy the afternoon for a little while. However, when I stepped outside, I was literally making footprints as I walked across the back porch because the pollen was so thick! It took me almost two hours to sweep (I think I swept up about 10 yellow piles!), mop (I changed the water three times!), wipe down my furniture, and vaccuum my cushions. We did get to eat outside last night, though, and everything was nice and clean. I bet if I checked it today, there would already be a yellow film again!!

Today was our field trip to the Columbia zoo. The kids were so excited and it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day...about 84 degrees & no humidity!! Loved it! We took charter buses down there (it's about an hour and a half from Charlotte) and the kids watched movies on the way. We saw so many fun animals and had a picnic. Here are some pictures of the day.

This one reminds me of Nala and Mufasa!!



The gorillas were so cute and so human! This one is on his back just chillin' out.



Me and some of my sweeties.



We didn't get back until about 4:00. Then I came home and changed to go to JOY PROM!!

Here we are dressed and ready to go.



I can't even tell you what an extraordinary event this was! There were about 1200 people there. I was just so proud of my church and my kids and their friends. Hopefully these wonderful people felt the love of Christ through the love that was expressed to them tonight and the special way they were treated. I know many of their caregivers and parents were so touched that someone they loved had such a magical night.



Here are some pictures from tonight.

Mark's date was severely disabled, but he had a great night with her and I think she really enjoyed it!





Laura's date for the night loved chocolate cake!! He ate about 3 HUGE pieces!!



Lindy's date was hearing impaired, but he still loved to dance!



Laura and Lindy and their dates.



Even Steve had a date! (I didn't have one because I was working in the Hospitality Suite serving food to the care givers.)





Here is my sweet friend, Katie, and her date.





It was a very special night and I am so thankful that we were all able to be a part of it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Joy Prom

Tonight I am going to a meeting to get ready for something I am so excited about. It is called Joy Prom and this year is the second time our church has hosted the event. We invite special needs individuals from all over the community to come to a prom hosted just for them and meant to make them feel like royalty!!



We provide anything and everything someone might need for a magical night. We have dresses, tuxes, & jewelry.

We provide make overs for the ladies...



and shoe shines for the guys.


Everyone is brought up to the door in a limo and the emcee announces their name and as they walk down the red carpet, everyone cheers and claps and takes their picture!






Our church members are assigned to be someone's date for the night. Once you have your date, it is your job to make sure that person has the time of their life!! And we spare no expense.



Our church recreation center is decorated with twinkle lights, balloons and mood lighting. We have a DJ and the party is ON!! Last year, my kids could not stop talking about it. They had the best time and are so pumped to do it again this year!! I didn't get to go last year, so I can't wait. This Friday night is going to be a night of blessing for me, I'm sure. I'll let you know how it goes!!