Friday, July 29, 2011

I love chocolate pudding

Well, I didn't win the contest that I was working on for my Top Secret Blog Project. Bummer!


I did finally get my birthday present hung on the wall.  [Yep, my birthday was in March.  Ahhhhh, well at least it's done.]

Here it is.  It's awesome! 

I've been struggling for months with all of my jewelry getting tangled up in piles in my jewelry box.  I actually have two jewelry boxes that sit on top of my dresser and it still isn't turning out to be adequate storage for all of my necklaces, bracelets, and rings.

Sell some of my jewelry, you say?  Well, I already did that back at my gold party in March.  I made over $300 and sold a few of the pieces I never wear anymore.  I still found that I wasn't wearing a lot of my necklaces because they were buried in a tangled pile of mess in my jewelry box. 

I knew I had to do something about it but I didn't want to spend money on yet another piece of furniture that we didn't even have the room for (like those freestanding jewelry boxes that a lot of people have these days).  I asked my mom if she'd make me a jewelry display board to hang on my bedroom wall and for my birthday she did!

She used an old frame she already had and then covered a cut piece of foam board with a piece of fabric. It fit right inside the frame.

I hung my necklaces and bracelets on push-pins I stuck into the foam board and then hung the entire thing on my wall.  It's so pretty and much, much easier to see all of my stuff now.  

Thanks, Mom!  You're the best!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Overheard in my house recently:

Jules: (scooting over on the couch behind Jonathan) Dad, do you want a massage?
Jonathan: Sure
Jules: (placing her hands on his back) Well, I don't really know what a massage is.
Jonathan: That's okay. I like to have my back scratched better anyway.


Me: Josh, it's time to go take a nap.
Josh: No night-night!
Me: Yes, Josh you have to go to sleep so we can go outside later.
Josh: No!
Me: (heading over to pick him up)
Josh: (flopping on the fireplace) Josh sleep fireplace


Me: (yapping away on the phone to my sister)
Jules: Nanna, Mama's gossiping.
Nanna: You're right Jules, she is!


(Jules was getting her hair "cut" after we all had ours cut and this conversation took place with Jonathan's step-mom.)

Sharon: Jackson got a sweet letter from you yesterday, Jules. Do you like writing letters?
Jules: Yeah.
Sharon: Do you practice reading and writing each day?
Jules: Well, not really.  Yesterday I just finished entering 152 Pokemon into my database.
Sharon: Oh you did?! So let's talk about where you're going to go to college!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

there's a good reason I never became a beauty consultant

Over a month ago, the kind folks at Mary Kay sent me a fun package.  I was so excited to see what it was.

 When I opened the box this is what I found.

 It was a gift bag full of fun products and a new catalog. 

 I received the Beautiful Brown Mineral Eye Color Bundle and Mineral Cheek Color.  It came with the three eye colors for brown eyes, cheek color, eye applicators, and the Mini Compact shown below.  I have to admit that this was a delight to assemble.  I'm not even a huge make-up wearer and I still had an absolute blast putting the colors in the compact.  It was like Christmas!  The make-up is held in by a magnet and then the eye color and cheek color palette lifts up to reveal the brushes tucked away underneath.  Score!

I've used this several times over the last month or so and I have to say that I'm enjoying it.  I'm getting better at applying the eye color [certainly not good enough to post a pic on the blog though!] and maybe learning a little about wearing make-up.  [Mom: Yes, I know it's about time! Yes, I realize I'm 33! Yes, I am enjoying taking better care of ME!]

Thanks Mary Kay and BlogHer!  Y'all are awesome!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

two seconds

That's the amount of time it took me to turn my back tonight and hang up his towel. I turned around and found this:

Friday, July 22, 2011

heavy stuff around here lately

picture from Amazon

The Kid by Sapphire was the latest book I read for BlogHer's Book Club.  You may have heard more about her first book, Push. The movie Precious was based on that book and this book, The Kid, is the story about her son.  Head on over to my post at BlogHer Book Club to read my thoughts after muddling through the book.

BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

twenty-one months

Dear Joshua,

You're twenty-one, brother! No, not twenty-one years. Twenty-one months. 

In the next couple of weeks when you go back to school, we're in for some rough days. I just know it.  And I'm already dreading it.  You have become quite attached to me as I've been home with you this summer.  You cling to my legs and say "Hold you" to me all the time.  You cry the silent, open mouthed, horrible face cry whenever I leave you with anyone. You want no one but mama. I know that will change after a week or two of school but it will be rough getting into the routine at first.

Thank goodness you having been eating better than you used to.  You are always going to be the child of mine that doesn't eat, I fear, but at least this month you've been eating some.  [I don't want those baby rolls to disappear just yet!]  I can almost always get you to eat a hot dog now and the yogurt/cheese/dairy standby usually works.  Plus, you'll still eat lots of different fruits.  I suppose I'm satisfied with that.  It's just not worth the battle that ensues to try to get you to eat more.

Your sister and I have spent a lot of time outside playing in the water with you this summer. You absolutely love it.  We can get your little legs to move pretty fast if we suggest we go put your bathing suit on.  It's also kinda like when Daddy asks if you want to go for a ride in the truck.  You'll high-tail it anywhere at the mere mention of either of these two things. 

Speaking of riding in the truck.  Your father has been letting you ride on his lap and "drive" his truck around the neighborhood as well as the lawn mower and you are enthralled with both tasks.  You're a total BOY and it's hard to be mad at him for letting you do something so dangerous when you look so stinkin' adorable doing it with him.

You also had your first trip to the dentist a few weeks ago.  You are such a brave little man.  You only had to be gently coaxed to have your teeth counted and then cleaned.  You did great and I was so impressed.  I thought for sure someone who does this:

a the slightest clap of thunder would be scared to death of the hygienist's tools.

Anyway, like most kids your age you love everything outdoors and don't even mind mosquito bites on your head as long as it means you get to go outside and play.  You play a mean croquet game, just ask Uncle Seth to tell you about that one someday.

You love to climb.  Daddy and I have started talks about when to switch you to a real bed instead of a crib. Thank goodness your legs are short.  Even though you've hit a growth spurt and grown over 1.75 inches in the last month and a half, you're still shorter than most kids your age.  Completely different than your sister.  I think we'll keep you anyway.  I mean, you can't climb out of your crib so that's worth something, right?

Last week we took you to get a short haircut.  The funniest thing was that you didn't cry or protest until I sat down to get mine cut after you were done.  I don't know if you didn't want me to get my hair cut or what but it was kinda funny to hear you cry over that after you had sat so still while your own hair was buzzed.

Next week we go back to the hospital to get your eye checked out again.  It still runs all the time so I'm sure we're headed for surgery.  My only concern is them putting you to sleep in order to hold you still for the doctor to fix it.  I know you'll be better off after all is done, but a mama still worries.  I suppose I always will worry about something.  That's just one of the not-so-good things about being a mama. Joshua, thank you for giving me the never-ending list of good things.

I love you, Buddy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

it all started with the silly putty on the carpet

I've been reading this book for BlogHer Book Club and not that they didn't warn me or anything, but it's been kinda making it hard for me to sleep at night.  Well, not hard to stay asleep per say, just hard to fall asleep.  You'll certainly hear about it more when I finish.  I don't want to say too much now.

So thanks to this book I really haven't been getting as much sleep as I should be considering that it's the middle of summer and I have nowhere to be each morning. It occurred to me yesterday that it's almost August and I haven't done the first thing for school yet.  That's when I looked down and realized that the littlest kid is stomping on his silly putty on the carpet.

I don't know if you heard about our last incident with silly putty or not, but we don't have a good track record in this house.

Anyway, to say that I've gotten myself in a little funk is an understatement.  I need to snap out of it and I'm hoping it starts tonight with a victory at Hogwarts.

We did have a nice ride around the neighborhood in the back of Daddy's truck the other night though.

So, how are y'all?

Monday, July 11, 2011

top secret blog project: Stuffed Summer Squash

I mentioned yesterday that I had been working on a top secret blog project and I had so much fun with my most recent adventure!  Knorr and BlogHer sent me a sample package of concentrated chicken stock to play with in my kitchen and the challenge to create an original recipe with it.   Knorr is one of the sponsors of this year’s BlogHer ’11 Conference in San Diego and they’re giving 8 winners of this recipe contest a ticket, airfare, and hotel for BlogHer ’11.  I’ve never been to BlogHer and always wanted to attend so I’m hoping this is it!

Now, let’s get to the goods.  Since it’s summer time and I seem to have an abundance of yellow squash hanging around I decided to make stuffed squash and fill it with the wonderful flavors of the chicken stock soaked up by bread crumbs and veggies.

If you want to play along and make this at home (and you know you do) you’ll want to start by slicing open a few yellow squash horizontally and scooping the seeds out with a spoon.  You could also use zucchini I suppose, but curvy yellow squash is what I had on hand.  Curvy as Kim Kardashian.  Ahem.  As I was saying, scoop out the seeds and place them in a shallow baking dish.  

Next you’ll want to chop some onion, celery, and broccoli.  Sauté the onion and celery in a tablespoon of butter under they are tender and then add the broccoli for just a couple of minutes to start the cooking process.  They broccoli pieces will finish cooking in the oven so you don’t need to cook them too long. 

In a separate pot, place 1 ¾ cups of water and one container of the concentrated chicken stock over high heat.  Once it comes together to form a nice broth, reserve ¾ cup of the liquid.  Bring the rest to a boil and add two cups of herb stuffing mix and stir in the veggies.  Mmmmmmm… you can smell the flavor here and trust me when I say that you’ll have to refrain from digging in with a fork.

Fill each half of the squash with a couple of spoonfuls of the stuffing mixture.  Pour the reserved broth down into the bottom of the baking dish to provide a little bath for the squash to cook in.  Cover the dish with foil and place it in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  

You want the squash to cook all the way through and the stuffing to be infused with the flavor of the stock and veggies.  After the squash is cooked, you can top them with shredded cheese and bake for another five minutes or you can omit this step if you’re so inclined.  Why anyone would skip out on the cheese part I have no idea, but whatever floats your boat, dude.

The verdict: Delicious.  Thank you Knorr and BlogHer.  Even if I don’t make it to San Diego this summer, you’ve given me a fun day in my kitchen and an excellent new flavorful recipe to add to my arsenal of summer vegetable dishes.  I couldn’t be happier.


Stuffed Summer Squash

3 large yellow squash
1 container Knorr Homestyle Concentrated Chicken Stock
2 cups Herb Stuffing Mix (I used Pepperidge Farm)
½ large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
¾ cup broccoli, chopped
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 TBSP butter
1 ¾ cups water

Bring water and concentrated stock to a boil.  Reserve ¾ cup of the liquid.  Saute onion and celery in 1 TBSP butter and add the broccoli pieces after a few minutes.  All of the vegetables should be tender but not fully cooked as they will cook more in the oven.  Add 2 cups stuffing mix to broth and stir in veggies.  Place 2 heaping spoonfuls of stuffing in each half of the squash.  Pour ¾ cup reserved broth into the bottom of the dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes, until squash is tender.  Sprinkle cheese on top of each piece of squash and bake an additional 5 minutes uncovered, until cheese is melted and stuffing is slightly crispy on top.

Total cook time: 35 – 40 minutes
Serves 6

Note: Knorr Homestyle Stock used to make chicken stock.  Each tub makes 3 1/2 cups of broth, can be diluted with almost any liquid, from water to fruit juice. Uses carefully selected ingredients, including herbs and vegetables, slowly simmered to perfection.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

bullets of randomness

  • The kids had dentist appointments this week.  It was Josh's first visit.  He was so very brave.  And cute in those big boy batman glasses (so that the "sunshine" wouldn't get in his eyes).

  • I got my tickets to the last Harry Potter earlier this week.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that.
  • I've been enjoying figuring out Google Plus.  So far it's been lots of fun investigating!
  • I've been working on a top secret blog project which is one reason why I haven't posted quite as much as I'd have liked this week. More details coming next week.
  • Julianna's latest obsession is Pokemon.  She's been addictively (I just made that word up) playing PokePark Wii this summer.  She saved her own money from selling lemonade to buy the game and she's pretty good at it.  She's gotten close to beating the game.  We've been to the library on numerous occasions to check out Pokemon books and we even we to a Pokemon/Bakugan club earlier this week and she was completely enthralled.  Totally in her element among the older kids (no surprise, mostly boys) and now she's started collecting Pokemon cards much to the dismay of her parents.  [Although I will say that I bought her first pack because she helped me clean the whole upstairs and I wanted to reward her so I guess I brought it all on myself.]
  • We celebrated a very good Fourth of July with family and friends.  We had a cookout at our house Sunday night and my dad even got to come.  Monday night we went to Jonathan's grandmother's house to watch the fireworks display at Creekside Park.  Josh was a little scared but he did much better than I expected.
  • New book review coming soon.  I've read some interesting ones over the last two weeks and I started Pillars of the Earth but had to give up on it for now.  Anyone else read that that can advise whether to proceed or not?
  • Julianna ran a true mile yesterday on her own and I couldn't be prouder.  I'm hoping she'll join us on the Mission Mile again this year.
    Questions of the Day:
    -What have you been up to?
    -Are you on Google+?
    -Are you a Harry Potter fan?  Do you get rediculously excited when a new movie comes out or is that just me?
    -Any suggestions for new books to read?


    Friday, July 8, 2011

    now I have Lee Greenwood songs going through my head

    We had a cookout here to celebrate the 4th of July on Sunday night since most people had Monday off from work.  It was a ton of fun and the perfect summer celebration.  The fourth of July has got to be one of the best holidays all year.

     Why people make business calls on holidays, I just don't understand.

    Lots of kids in a truck.

    First family picture since Josh was born.  Awesome.

     Jonathan got to spend a little bit of time with his dad which he was thankful for.

    The kids got to throw some pop-its and Josh adored being carried around my Sara Beth all night.

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