Tuesday, September 30, 2008

De-stressing

It is only Tuesday, but this week has already been a little stressful. First of all, the whole failed bailout thing is stressful. Steve met me for dinner last night with the news of how much we had lost in the stock market. He was not a happy camper. Then I haven't been able to find gas until yesterday finally, so I was a little concerned about that. And I have been working really long hours at school partly because we have so many meetings! I sat in a workshop today from 12:00-4:00!! (There was no school since it was a Jewish holiday.) But the whole time I was in there I was thinking about what I needed to be doing in my classroom.

Anyway...when I got in my car I was rushed to get home because I knew my family was waiting for me and wondering what was for dinner. I was a little frazzled. However when I turned my car on, my Michael Buble CD started to play and the air conditioner started blowing cool air on me and it was like my blood pressure just started dropping. His voice is so soothing to me! That's why I keep his CD in all the time in my car! I need it alot these days! haha


I was thinking about the best ways to de-stress on my way home today. This is what I like to do:

1. Listen to relaxing music!! This is probably my favorite one. It works every time.

2. Take a bubble bath. Calgon take me away! (This picture actually looks alot like Rocky and me! He loves to lay beside the bathtub!)


3. Don't answer the phone for a while. Too many phone calls just add to the craziness.


4. Get outside if it's nice weather. Makes me want to say, "Aaahhhhhhhhh..." :)


5. Sleep...I need lots of sleep and I cope with life so much better if I've had enough.



6. Pour a big glass of coke and read a magazine or watch TV for a while...something mindless.

What is your favorite way to de-stress?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

God Of Wonders

I was just thinking today about one of my favorite verses since we read it in church this morning. I just love these verses in Psalms!

Psalm 8:3-4
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5Yet you have made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.


God is so big and we are so small...yet he loves us so much!

Anyway...I also love the song God Of Wonders by Third Day. I think the words are so worshipful and they kind of go hand in hand with this verse. And did you know that this song was the wake up call on the space shuttle Discovery? Can you imagine being out in God's magnificent universe and waking up to this reminder of his majesty and omnipotence? THAT would be a true worship experience!

Here is the transcript from the wake up call:
CAPCOM: Good morning Endeavour! Good morning to you Dom. You guys worked so hard yesterday we gave you an extra 17 minutes of sleeping in. How about that.

Commander Domionic Gorie: Good morning Al and that timing was perfect. Right before the music came on the sun hit the space station. It was just beautiful. A very, very appropriate song. Thank you for waking us up with that. The glory is apparent this morning.


Lord of all creation



of water earth and sky




The heavens are your Tabernacle



Glory to the Lord on high!

God of wonders beyond our galaxy




You are holy...holy!

The universe declares your Majesty



And you are holy... holy

Lord of Heaven and Earth
Lord of Heaven and Earth

Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light




When I stumble in the darkness
I will call your name by night



God of Wonders beyond our galaxy...you are holy, holy!
The universe declares your majesty.
You are holy, holy!

Isn't that a beautiful song? What is your favorite Bible verse or worship song?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Matthews Matters

We woke up to pouring down rain this morning, so I wasn't too excited about working at Matthews Matters. I really thought the turnout would be way down because who wants to work outside in the rain??!! But when we got to church this morning there was a huge crowd of people there!

We fanned out all over town and started planting trees and bushes, putting out pine straw, clipping hedges, spreading mulch, and doing all kinds of landscaping. We all wore green t-shirts so green t-shirts were everywhere! Our Sunday School class worked together on planting trees and bushes and spreading pine straw. Here are a few of us.



It stopped raining, but you have never seen so much red mud. We were COVERED in mud. Here are my gloves...


We had to put plastic bags on our feet just to get in the car so we wouldn't ruin the floor!

We really had a fun time together despite the mud and rain. After working all morning, we all went to lunch at Chipotle Grill. On the way there, this is the line I saw waiting for gas!


Lots of stations still don't have gas, so the ones that do have really long lines.

Mark and Steve had a ping pong tournament going here this afternoon. We have a ping pong table in our garage and it doesn't get much use anymore. So when Mark comes home, Steve always wants to play! Here is Mark just getting warmed up...



Then he started getting serious and had to take off his shirt and just go with his t-shirt...


Lots of trash talking takes place during these tournaments. ;)

Tonight Lindy had to work and Laura is out with friends, so we are just hanging out watching the Georgia v. Alabama football game. What a blowout! I got Baby Mama to watch tonight, but I am too tired. I'll have to save it for tomorrow.

Have a good night! :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Surprise Visit

Well, Ashley decided to come home for just the afternoon since her boyfriend, John had planned a trip home today. So we decided to go out to dinner tonight together. Several of Mark's buddies are home this weekend, too. His whole group of friends have been regulars at Wing Stop for years, so they had to get together tonight and make a Wing Stop run, so he missed dinner with us. By the way, Mark picked Laura and Lindy up from school today and took them with him to the mall so they could be his personal shoppers. He needed some clothes for Freshman Council and he knew right where to turn! He is so lucky to have them.

Anyway...we went to Carraba's since that's where my girls wanted to go (even though Steve and I went there last weekend.) We had a really fun night together.

My girls...



Here I am after a long, rainy day at school. It is casual Friday so I am wearing my school t-shirt and jeans. I just went on to dinner like that.



We are anxious to watch the debate tonight. I really want to hear Obama and McCain stand together and explain their views and plans for our country. Wow...whoever becomes president is going to have a huge financial mess on their hands!



It has been pouring down rain all day today. Tomorrow Steve and I are scheduled to work on a church project where we are cleaning and "beautifying" a little suburb of Charlotte called Matthews. It is going forward, rain or shine. I think it's going to be rain. So it is not going to be as much fun working in the rain!! I wanted to do some yard work this weekend, but it's not looking like that is going to work out.

We are STILL without gas here! Hopefully that will be over as of this weekend. It's been crazy! One of the little girls in my class told me while she and her mom were at the doctor's office yesterday, someone siphoned all the gas out of their gas tank!! Can you believe that??!! Sad!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Boy Is Back On This Blustery Day!

Did you ever read Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day?


That describes today! Very chilly and blustery and fall-ish. I put beef stew in my crock pot this morning and the house smelled so good when I got home from school. Plus dinner was ready...gotta love that!

Mark came home for the weekend. Yay!! He gave me a big hug and told me how much he has missed being here. After dinner we just sat around the table talking and catching up. I miss him! It's so much fun having him back home. He was telling jokes and making us laugh and filling us in on college life. My sweet boy!

When I was reading my blogs today, I came across a personality test on Lauren's blog. I think personality tests are fun, so I took it and this is what mine said:

Your personality type:

Warm-hearted, popular and conscientious. Tend to put the needs of others over their own needs. Feel strong sense of responsibility and duty. Value traditions and security. Interested in serving others. Need positive reinforcement to feel good about themselves. Well-developed sense of space and function.

Careers that could fit you includes:

Home economics, nursing, teaching, administrators, child care, family practice physician, clergy, office managers, counselors, social workers, bookkeeping, accounting, secretaries, organization leaders, dental assistants, homemakers, radiological technologists, receptionists, religious educators, speech pathologists.


Guess I picked the right career, huh? You can take it too, here!

Tomorrow is Friday! Hip hip hooray! :)!!!!! It is supposed to rain, so the only down side is that we will have to have indoor recess. But that's okay. Fridays are the BEST!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Week of Fall and Cornbread Cake

This is the first week of fall so I think it's about time to swap out my flowers. I have had geraniums on my front porch all summer and impatiens out along the front of the house. But I'm thinking this weekend might be a good time to pull them up and put in some fall pansies.



We are working with our church this weekend to clean up and "beautify" one of the little suburbs of Charlotte called Matthews. That will be taking up my morning. Then I have to go get my hair colored and cut. And Mark is coming home for the weekend, too. But I hope I will have some time to work in my yard!

I want to make some Cornbread Cake, too. The name sounds so different than what it really is. My sweet little neighbor, Melissa made some for a party I went to recently and when I tried it I loved it. It is so moist and not "cornbready". It is similar to Blondies. Here is the recipe:

Cornbread Cake

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray Pam in a 9 X 13 pan (baking dish). Stir together sugars, eggs, and oil in medium bowl. Then stir in flour, vanilla, and pecans. Stir till smooth and finely mixed. Spoon into baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!


Steve has decided to help teach 3rd grade R.A.'s this year on Wednesday nights at church and then host a Men's Bible Study at our house afterward. He has all his guys over right now and I wanted to make the cornbread cake for them to munch on, but I didn't have time.

Is anyone else having a major gas shortage?? There is NO GAS anywhere near my house! It is nerve wracking to be getting low on gas and not be able to find any. Only two gas stations anywhere near here had gas tonight and both of them had lines that were at least 30-40 cars long...I'm not kidding! This is crazy!

PS-I decided to turn my music back on for a while...just change it up a little bit! I've missed it. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sharing

Over the past few weeks, as I have been reading different blogs, I have come across some really good stuff that I thought I would share with you today. I hope if you have time you will take a minute to click on these links!

Empty Nest

The first link really hit home to me since I will be an empty nester soon. Even though it might seem to be a long way away off for you, believe me, it will be here sooner than you think! This link gave me some good advice and it is something you could keep in the back of your mind for the future!

(By the way...this is SO going to be Steve in about a year! haha)



Marriage



Steve and I have been talking to several couples lately who are really struggling in their marriages. Marriage is just hard work!! It can be difficult sometimes. But it is so worth it to hang in there and not give up. This post is about marriage and making it work.


Sophia is one of my favorite bloggers. She has adopted three of her grandchildren as her own. She is such a great mom to them. Here are some of the sweet things she does for them. I loved them all!



Five things that I love doing for the babes:

I put their clothes in the dryer to warm them up for three minutes before I wake them up. (They jump up and make their beds quickly so that they can put warm clothes on!)

I sing to them. every word. Instead of speaking. "It's time to get up! Did you sleep well!? Hurry, hurry! Get the hairbrush! How do you want your hair today? What do you want for breakfast?!" Quayd says, "Not again!" The girls sing back, "Muffinnnnnnsssssssss!!"

Making zip-lock bags of treats for them when we go someplace... like on a hike or a road trip that's more than fifteen minutes. Liza helped me with their treat bags for their hike to the Wind Caves. M&Ms and Red Vines cut up bitesize. Goldfish and Pretzels. Mixed Nuts. Guess which one came home empty!?

Greeting them after school at the door with a "Hellllooooo! I missed you!!! Did you have a great day!?!?" The other day, I was on the phone when Gracie came in, so I just gave her a hug and kept talking. When I hung up a few minutes later, she said, "Um. Mom. Did you forget something? I'm home?! Where's my helloooooooo!" Oops.

Taking their photos when they look extra cute because it reminds them that they are extra special!


PS-Ashley called tonight and she was nominated for Homecoming Queen at USC!!

Playing Catch Up

I have been soooo busy this week. I have not had a minute to blog. I have been loving teaching second grade, but it is so time consuming trying to learn all the ropes and just getting started from scratch again. I have been working eleven and twelve hour days lately. I get to school around 6:30 in the morning and haven't been leaving until 5:30 or so.

I am always so excited when Friday finally gets here. And I am not about to cook on Friday night! :) Steve is always sweet to take me out on a date and I usually just sit there trying to make my brain work enough to have a decent conversation. Last night Steve and I went out to dinner at a really good place called Encore Bistro.


The atmosphere is very relaxing and the food was delicious (I got pan-seared talapia with jasmine rice and veggies in a basil cream sauce!) But, when we got home I felt like I had seriously been hit by a mack truck. haha I was exhausted!!! I fell asleep around 9:15! I am just a barrel of Friday night fun, huh??

We slept late this morning, though, and I felt lots better today. Every Saturday morning, we have a tradition of making blueberry muffins and coffee, so that's how we started the day today.


It was absolutely gorgeous outside, so we decided to go to Festival In The Park which is just an outdoor festival with tons of food and lots of arts and crafts booths. It was such a great way to spend the morning. We had the best time just hanging out in the pretty sunshine and strolling around outside. Here are some pictures of our morning.





There was so much good food there!


Like...the biggest Greek salads you've ever seen!


Yummy fruit


And kettle corn that smelled amazing!



We got barbeque and cole slaw with homemade macaroni and cheese for lunch and it was really good. There were also TONS of arts and crafts booths. Anything from jewelry to pottery to paintings...



to children's art work...


Mostly we just enjoyed being outside on such a pretty day.







After lunch we came home and I sat on the porch and tried to finish reading The Shack. I know....can you believe how long it has taken me to read that book??? I have literally not had a minute to read.


I am almost done with it now, though. My impressions after what I have read are:

*It is a very different interpretation of what anyone might imagine the Trinity to be! I'm not sure I liked how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were portrayed, but I do think it was thought provoking.

*I covers lots of deep spiritual topics.

*And, it is very metaphorical.

Let's just say it is not what I expected and it is very different than anything I've ever read before.

This whole week, my next door neighbors have been gone and we have been watching their dog and getting their mail, etc. Today, Lindy went over to water the flowers on their front porch, and this is what she saw....


Poor thing...isn't that sad? I wonder what happened?? We couldn't figure out how a little bird could have died right there on the porch!

Anyway...I am grateful for Saturdays. They are so needed right now. And this one was just right. We grilled out tonight, I bought my Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle today and it is burning as we speak...


and we have been watching some football (we bring our tv out onto the porch in the nice weather so we can watch the games outside. Here is Lindy right before she left for work tonight...)


That is a perfect way to end the day. Hope you've had a good Saturday, too!

PS--I forgot to tell you that Mark got elected to Freshman Council at USC! We are so proud of him. There were lots of freshmen that tried out and he was one of 12 chosen!

Also...if you have read The Shack, tell me what you thought about it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

I just posted about wishing fall were here and today it felt like I got my wish! All of a sudden it has turned fall-ish! It is very cool and rainy and I even put on a sweater today. It is so funny how weather can change so quickly!

Laura and Lindy were asking for taco soup the other day and I told them there was no way I could eat that with it being so hot outside. But today was a great day to make it.



When I got home from school I got that going and made a fruit salad to go with it.

Here are my recipes for the soup and the fruit salad:

Taco Soup

Boil and chop about 4-5 boneless chicken breasts
Sautee one large onion in a few tablespoons of oil.
Add chicken to onions in a large pot. Then add the following ingredients:
2 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
2 cans black beans, drained
2 cans corn, drained
1 can chicken broth
2 packages taco seasoning

You can add a little water, if needed.

Simmer together for about 10 minutes, and you're ready to go!


I usually serve this with tortilla chips, grated cheese, and sour cream!

Fruit Salad

1 can peach pie filling
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 package frozen strawberries
3 bananas, sliced

Mix all of these together and enjoy!


Today when I got home there was a new Real Simple magazine waiting for me. I haven't even gotten to read the last one yet. So I planned out my night...I was going to get my pajamas on early and get a few school things done. Then I was going to prop up in bed with my magazines and my TV remote!

That is not what happened. Apparently I was scheduled for overtime Mom-duty tonight and I didn't know it. Every single one of my kids had a need, question, or issue. I helped Laura edit her skit and resume for Carrousel, Mark e-mailed me an English paper he needed editing by tonight, Ashley called needing advice about a project she's doing tomorrow, and Lindy wanted to set dates for her college tours. Meanwhile, Rocky is attached to me for some reason tonight and has his head laying across my legs at this very moment! haha He's actually kind of cute! (Although he has been out in the rain and has a little bit of that "wet dog" smell right now...eww!) :)

So...I guess I'll re-schedule my magazine catch up for another night. Oh well, the best laid plans....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall Preview

Okay...it is so blazing hot here lately! I am breaking a sweat just bringing my groceries in from the car!! Mark told me he had to leave the USC vs. Georgia game at half time yesterday because one of the girls he was with got very sick from the heat. Plus the mosquitoes are swarming! I went out into the yard this afternoon to help Steve fill up our bird feeders and I think I got about 10 bites on my legs from just being out there for less than five minutes! I am really ready for some nice cool, crisp air! Fall is always so welcome after August and September here in the south!

Here are a few things I can't wait for!

Fall leaves!


Hot apple cider


Friday night football games


Going to the mountains. There is a trail we walk on there that I promise looks exactly like this!

Some good homemade chili


Seeing pumpkins on everyone's front porch

Lighting a spiced pumpkin Yankee candle and making the house smell yummy!



Going on hayrides...I usually do this every year with my class.


Cute kids in their trick or treat costumes


The first time it's cold enough to light a fire. I love that smell...and I love the smell of burning leaves!


Thanksgiving dinner! We always have about 25 people over to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. It is so much fun!

So...are you in the mood for fall now??