Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Answers to Your Questions [Part 1]

This was getting pretty long, so I'll have to do a Part 1 now and a Part 2 later... And, I don't know what is going on with the fonts on this post. Just bare with me...

Tracy said...

You have to spend one week alone. Food, clothing and shelter are taken care of but there's no electricity. What 5 things would you consider essential to pack?

My first thought? I get to be ALONE???! Oh, thank you, Tracy! Even just in thought this was a great question. I got to think about being ALONE FOR A WHOLE WEEK!!!! Thank you, thank you! Ok, I know I'll probably never be alone for a whole week, but it was nice to dream about... :)

To the question. I first have to make some assumptions, being the nerd that I am (gotta put that engineering degree to use somehow). At first I was thinking deserted island, but then, no, it's more like a modern Little House on the Prairie. I'll have food, clothing, and shelter, just no electricity. I can do that for a week easily! I'm also going to assume that the shelter aspect includes my linens, toiletries, and the like because I think the question is more geared towards what I would pack for me. If not, oh well, I'll answer the question they way I want to! :) HAHA!!

So, the 5 things I would pack are:

1) Bible - I really need to get back to the book. I need to make it a priority again and put it first in my daily routine. I've let my spiritual study life go ffffllllzzztttt. (That sounds about right.) So anyway, there's my #1. Easy.

2& 3) I really wanted to combine these and make them one item, but I'll play [a little] fair. I'd bring a three subject spiral notebook and a fully stocked mechanical pencil with 0.7 mm lead. I could combine these into one and just say a battery powered laptop, but there is just something about writing and having it in front of me on paper.

I'd catch up on my correspondences, because I'm sure I owe a few people (like about 30) thank you notes for baby gifts from when Witt was born (in MAY). I'd also use my paper and pencil for notes and thoughts on my Bible reading. I'd probably also jot a few notes down about what I wanted to blog about when I returned. Hey, just being honest here. I think if I had a week I could really clear out some of the cobwebs and to-do-lists in my head. It would be great.

4) Mitten Strings for God - I love this book. My friend, Laurel, sent me a copy and I love it. It's a book for mothers in a hurry. It helps me slow down and see the bigger picture; just a great book. I meant to read it again this past summer, but life took over and I'm still looking for the reigns. If given time to myself I could probably read this book in a day, but it's that good that I would bring it with me.

5) Now, I know I don't have any electricity and I know I'd be wantin' a long hot bath. So, again I'm going to assume that the shelter aspect includes some already cut wood, some kindling, and matches so that I can heat some water and dump it in the tub. After my nice loooonnnnnggggg hhhhottttt bath, I'm going to slather on some Body Butter from The Body Shop at HOME. I rarely have time to pamper myself and this is one pampering that is easy enough that I can do daily during my week alone.

I know there is probably something better or more exciting that one could bring on a week alone, but I'd like to take my week to just relax, clear my head, and get some sleep. Oh, I'm also assuming that shelter aspect includes a huge down comforter to go on top of the most comfortable king sized bed I've ever slept on - because it's my MODERN Little House on the Prairie, just no electricity. :)

Roselle said...

For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again? (Yes, your kids would go with you.)

I already have, don't you know that I moved to Alabama? LOL! Just kidding! I love Alabama. Actually, this question isn't very hard for me. I've lived in eight different states and have had moves within states. It was a rough childhood. There were positives, too, though. I've had true New England Clam Chowder, been to a Texas Rodeo, eaten Wisconsin cheese and I must mention the bratwursts... yum! I've seen Georgia peach orchards. I've been to California beaches and devoured Alabama BBQ. I lived in Ohio, too, but I can't think of anything interesting there except that I went canoing in my front yard after a flooding rain. And for those of you counting, I also lived a summer in South Carolina... nothing exciting happened there in those three months.

Currently my parents are living in Washington state. My brother and sister are in Georgia and South Carolina. Almost my entire extended family is in Wisconsin and I haven't seen them in almost 10 years. So, I do know what it is like to move and miss friends and family, but yes, with Jeff and my kids, I'd move anywhere. It is amazing how much love you can build with someone over such a short period of time (when you consider I've only known Jeff for 1/3 of my life). I'd go anywhere with Jeff - he just can't come with me on my week alone! :)

Lisa@Take90West said...

I'd like to know if you could have one service provided to you, free of charge, at all times...what would it be?

Oh, that's tough. I'll start with the obvious and just type as I think.

Jeff has offered to hire someone to help me with the housework, but I just don't want someone else cleaning my house (because that would mean I have accepted defeat and can't be supermom and do everything myself). So, a housekeeper is out. Yes, I've finished my pile of dishes!
I enjoy cooking, so I don't need a chef, but then again gourmet meals at all times... hmmm... I'd say a chef is in the running.

I also love a great back rub. I've had one full body massage in my whole life and it was wonderful. Masseuse is in the running.

Oh, this is hard to choose. Ok, one service, at all times, free of charge... What do I hate doing the most? What would I love for someone else to do?

Poop patrol. I have two 100 lb golden retrievers and they make a lot of poop. I hate poop patrol and cleaning up the back yard. Ugh.

Yep, that's it... someone to take care of my yard. I'm no good at watering plants. My flowers all die. The backyard is full of poop and the kids can't play back there without getting on their shoes (when they wear shoes!). I hate raking and mowing. I want it to be a beautiful yard so we can enjoy it, but I don't want to put the work in. I'm lazy that way. So, a poop patrolling landscaper. Bet you never saw that one coming...

And favorite TV shows?

I don't watch that much tv (anymore). I do, however, have a few shows that I make time for and must see. Monday nights are a big night for Jeff and me. I put Witt down at 7:00 and plop in front of the tube for Prison Break. Jeff is in charge of the other two boys. He gets Nathan down at 8:00 and he plops down in front of the tube for Heroes. I'm in charge of Will - he's in bed by 8:15 and I get to watch the rest of Heroes, too! :) Tuesday nights if I can squeeze it in, I love watching House. I have also liked the last two seasons of So You Think You Can Dance and will occasionally watch American Idol.
Some shows that look interesting to me are Bones, Journey Man, and Ghost Whisperer. I don't really know too much about them, but the commercials gained my curiosity. I really like the whole parapsychology thing. Don't ever want to meet a ghost or know the future, but I think it's intriguing. (Jeff has had a few run-ins with ghosts and that scares me enough...)

Best and worst high school memory?

Honestly, high school was a blast. I was an honor roll student. I was the girls' soccer team goalie and co-captains with Kim Kim. I was a cheerleader, dated an offensive lineman on the football team- we were voted most likely to get married, but didn't. I was in the art club because they took an overnight school trip to SCAD on Tybee Island, GA. Gymnastics, AP Calculus, Physics, and Intensive Office Procedures (Secretarial training - it was the only computer class available) were some of my elective classes. I had lots of school pride and had lots of good, clean fun. I was a good kid (mostly). I had friends from all different social classes and backgrounds. I didn't really hang out with one group of people. High school in general is just a good memory.
For worst memory, I'll give my biggest regret instead because I really couldn't come up with a bad memory. I wish I had spent more time with my girl friends. Although I had friends, my social calendar bent more towards spending time with my boyfriend. That's about the only thing I would change.
Now college... that was just one big bad memory. I hated college, except for my co-op quarters! :) LOVED THOSE!

Randi said...

Who is your favorite cousin-in-law? ;)

It's all you, Randi. And not because you are the only cousin-in-law that reads my blog, honest! :)

Click Here for Part 2

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Task at Hand / I'm Not Proud

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Not exactly Tiny "Talk", but insight into a two-year-old's thoughts: After getting the Christmas tree up and the lights turned on, Nathan grabbed one of the small light bulbs and started blowing on it, trying to get it to go out. He recently had his 2nd birthday and must have correlated the candles with the lights. It was sooo funny!

Will, age 5: What is today, Mommy?
Me: Today is Sunday.
Will: But I want today to be yesterday.
Me: Well, today will be yesterday tomorrow.

I'm still not exactly sure what he was asking, but then again, he's still probably not sure exactly what I was telling... because I'm not exactly sure... too confusing! :)

100th Post

*click image for original location
While touring the blogosphere as I like to do, I have come to realize that the 100th post is something special. Something to celebrate. So, in honor of my 100th post and all my friends and family that read my random thoughts, I am going to give one of you something! Woo Hoo! That's right! Something FREE! Don't you just love free stuff?!

I've been giving some thought as to a good representation of me and my blog. Hmm... seems like lately it's been dairy free. Want some soy milk? Nah, didn't think so. Hey, I know, how about a little boy? I've got a couple extra. Sorry, can't part with any of them. Well, what about a laundry basket or a DVD that we don't watch anymore? Maybe a cotton ball or a day off to nap? (Ok, I don't wish a day off on anyone!)

And then it hits me, what would I want to win? Why not give something away that I really like? So, I've narrowed it down to two items. The winner will choose between 5 Green Bags which I absolutely love and your choice of The Body Shop at HOME's Body Butter which I also adore.

Be sure to leave a comment on this post and some way that I can contact you if you win. I'm going to make you work for it a bit though. I want to know why you deserve to be pampered with a free gift! This giveaway is open to everyone, even if this is the first time you've visited me. I'll pick a comment at random *(unless someone's comment is just so outstanding that they have to win)* next Tuesday at noon.

Good luck!

Oh, and while you're here visiting my blog, ask me a question!

Christmas Tree Decorations

Growing up, our Christmas trees were always decorated just so. There were decorations in burgundy and gold, blue and silver, and then apples and toys. We had three different tree set-ups and they were rotated each year. Everything matched and always white lights. We never put handmade decorations on the tree. We didn't have sentimental decorations. Don't get me wrong, the tree was always beautiful and it was nice to "show off", but it always bothered me somehow. I wanted more tradition and sentiment. Now that I have my own family, I can do that.

So I thought it would be fun to string some popcorn and cranberries for the tree with the family. First of all, I didn't think I'd be the only one doing it (why would I not have realized this?!). Will did start to help a little, but the novelty quickly wore off. You can see our work in progress in Will's Photos and how many cranberries I thought I'd like to use. Luckily I started with only a 3 foot piece of string so that's all I had to finish.

We did have some fun making it though. Will got a feel for a needle and thread, which is something EVERYONE should know how to use. We talked about patterns. 3 Popcorn... 1 Cranberry... 3 Popcorn... 1 Cranberry. I told Will that after Christmas we would hang the strand(s) in the trees for the birds to eat. Those 3 feet were fun, but anymore and I think we all would have been bored.

The completed strand was just long enough to put on the boys' little tree in the sun room. It is a 3' tree decorated with colored lights. There are a few apples from my childhood "apples & toys tree" and lots of homemade decorations given to us from our dear friend, Deborah. She gave us her decorations (some from her childhood I believe) when Will was about two. Will and Nathan decorated this tree in about uummmm.... 30 seconds. Most of the ornaments are piled on the lower branches. It is b e a u t i f u l ! :)

It doesn't look like we're going to be able to feed the birds though...

And a video, of course:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Will's Photos

We let Will take a few photos with the digital camera last night; I thought I'd share them since he did such a great job.

Nov 26 - Menu Plan Monday

French Beef Stew
Crescent Rolls (Yes, they are dairy free!)

Chicken on the Ritz
Yellow Squash
Green Beans

Pork Chops w/ Mushroom Gravy
Zucchini & Potato Bake
Steamed Asparagus
Black Eyed Peas

Venison Burritos & Tacos
Refried Beans

KFC for the boys (Jeff & I are going to Nashville!!!)

Dairy Free Whole Wheat Pancakes
eggs for Nathan & Jeff
Fruit Smoothie

Thanks Mom Unplugged!

I feel like I won the It's Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway!!! I received some great dairy-free cookbooks in the mail on Saturday from Mom Unplugged! Her children outgrew their milk allergies so the books now have a new home and will be put to use again! What a wonderful gift! Thank you so much!!!

Children Reading Labels (Incorrectly)

Nathan sees label. Nathan wants to copy label.

Nathan not happy...

Nathan very happy...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Cold Today

Well, it's almost been one full month of Crunchy Chicken's Freeze Yer Buns challenge and I must say that today... I am. It is 38 degrees outside and our thermostat is set at 68, but it sure does feel colder than that! In fact, I think it is... and I have proof~

We have a wireless thermo sensor that we were given as a wedding gift (interesting gift, I know... but it has come in handy). I have it in the hallway next to the built in thermostat and it reads the house temperature to be 66 degrees. So then I wonder, hmmm... which one is right? I need a third independent reading! I get the bright idea to use the kids' temporal thermometer (a baby gift) to scan the air. It reads 64 to 65. (I take several scans to get an decent average being the nerd that I am.) With all measurements complete, I think we're chillin' somewhere around 65, which makes me feel better because 68 makes me sound like such a wimp - especially to my northern readers, I'm sure (Hi, Auntie Mary!).

We have been using the energy saving light bulbs for some time, but this past month we have also incorporated some of Sense to Save's energy reducing tips, put a lock on the refrigerator door to keep the boys from playing in there, have made a better effort at turning out lights, and of course we have used the central heating unit less. I was so happy to see our utility bill had dropped this past month as compared to last year! We saved 460 KWH compared to last November! We also reduced our water by 13 CGAL without even trying! Who knew?!

So, even though our pockets are lined with a little more money, my buns are freezing. Could be because I'm out here in the unheated portion of the house on the computer, ya think? :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just the Two of Us...and the Cows

I've fallen in love again. I feel that "spark" that Jeff and I had while we dated. I feel as young as I look in that picture. How does one get to that point after three kids and 8 1/2 years of marriage? Well, I must admit being in Alabama this time of year has something to do with it.

Back in college I was a co-op student. I went to school for a quarter and then worked for a quarter. I always worked during the Fall and Spring quarters, so I was always in Alabama during my favorite times of the year. Jeff and I met on the first day of my first co-op quarter. He was the engineer I was assigned to. Yep, he was (kinda) my boss. We met on Monday and he carried me to the movies on Friday. (Yes, carried. It's a word he uses and it's cute.) Basically, that's all there is to tell about the beginning because we've been together ever since, but here's a little more insight:

Jeff has a very close family and they all live within 5 miles of each other. Everyone gathers at Grandmother's house for special meals. During hunting season, the women sit around chatting and waiting for their men to return with stories of the hunt and hopefully something to store in the freezer. It was always a fun time for me because my extended family is halfway across the US; I'd never had big family meals and get-togethers. I loved being a part of his big family and there's just something romantic about being in the country.

When it was just the two of us, one of our favorite things to do was to hop on the four-wheeler and cut across the cow pasture. I always had a blast riding the four-wheeler with Jeff... holding on tight! We'd watch the cows, see rabbits occasionally, and just stop to take in the beautiful scenery having wonderful conversations about nothing and everything while out in the middle of nowhere. Just the two of us... and the cows. (I guess the cows didn't want to have their picture taken, though.)

And then of course, there was that four-wheeler ride that brought us to where we are today. He took me out on the four-wheeler early one morning, stopped by the stream, got down on one knee and proposed. Just the two of us...and the cows. When we had talked about getting married (before the proposal) Jeff had asked if I had any dreams about when/where/how I wanted the proposal to be (very thoughtful of him I must say). I told him that there was a special place that I thought would be perfect and I left it at that for him to make some choices... no pressure, right? Looking back, I can see why he chose the place that he did, but that wasn't quite where I had in mind.

Jeff's dad owns some land and Jeff had a perfect place picked out to build a future home. At the time, I thought that was where I wanted him to propose because that would be where we would spend the rest of our lives together. The story recently took a turn because we have decided to build on the land where he proposed (not because of the proposal, but because of the location). So, in the end, I'll get my wish about having our home built on the land where it all got started. Funny how dreams come true when and how you least expect them to.

So yesterday, it was feeling like old times: Thanksgiving meal at Grandmother's, listening to some hunting talk, and a trip to the cow pasture (this time in a 4-wheel drive truck, though) and conversation about where we'll build our future home. It's great to be young and in love all over again! ;)


This week's unplugged project is entitled "Thankful". For us, this wasn't a big artsy project, more of a conversation (which we were going to have anyway being Thanksgiving and all). So it worked out well for us. ANYWAY>>>


Will said he is thankful for his family, the sweet garden outside and his trains. I was not surprised by the train comment at all. The sweet garden outside, well, that threw me. What garden? All our flowers are dead. (I'm not good at watering.) So with further questioning, it appears that he wants to plant flowers outside. I'm planning to fulfill that wish, but it might have to wait until Spring.


Well, Nathan still doesn't say a whole lot these days. He's adding more words occasionally, but the one thing I hear about at least three times a day is his Pa-Paw (Brrrmmmm). He loves the tractor rides Pa-paw gives. Here is Jeff's dad making some silly faces and having some fun with Nathan. So, I'm going to speak for Nathan here and say he's thankful for his Pa-Paw's Brrrmmm. :)

Witt, I'm sure, is thankful for his family. We all take such good care of him. Here's Grandmother (Jeff's mom in red) and Great-Aunt Debbie (Jeff's Aunt in white). He loves kisses, silly faces, and a good tickle on his chubby little legs, but Mommy is his favorite person in the whole wide world (for now...).

Upon asking Jeff what he was thankful for, he said he was thankful that we've all made it through another day alive. (When I was growing up, my mom always said that if we all made it through the day alive, she and Dad felt like they must have been doing something right. This was her advice that she passed on to us when we became parents.) *smile*


I'm thankful for sweet, innocent moments.

For little kids trying to do what big kids do.

For fun rock collections and the sparkling smile in showing them off. "See what I found!?!"

For little boys that aren't too little and yet still not too big.

I am thankful for sleeping babies and for the gentle touch that helps keep them warm and snug.

For generations of mothers who love to hold a baby and rock.

And I'm thankful for the dishes, the laundry, and all the leftover food we have because that means my family has eaten well and played hard.

And just for fun, I'm thankful for little conversations like this one in the video below. This is Will with Jeff's cousin, Randi. We are discussing Will and his "girlfriend", Shay, whom he says he is going to marry when he is "all growed up". To preface this conversation even more, he said that they will move into our house and Jeff and I will move out. :)

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! We sure did!

Head over to Unplug Your Kids to enter your Thankful project and get more information on next week's project, "Paper".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Get Jiggy Witt

Video of Witt doing a "baby jig" in the jumperoo:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Bloggy Q 'n' A

I got this idea from Lisa @ Take 90 West. She held a Bloggy Question & Answer and had a lot of fun with it; I hope to as well!

Basically, you ask anything you want to know about me and I'll answer. It can be silly, serious, or kinda crazy, but let's keep it clean, people! :)

Leave your questions in the comment section of this post and in one week, I'll "gather" them up and get to work answering. I hope this will be fun and I hope you "lurkers" out there will show yourself and ask a question or two.

Thanks for playing!


Here and Here for My Answers to Your Questions.

Adventures in Cooking

[No, this is not another Dairy-free post...promise!]

Last night while cooking supper, I got so much exercise that I just can't not share my new exercise plan with you (I know: double negative, bad grammar... but it just works for this post.)

So, I'm preparing last night's meal. Witt is in the highchair playing quietly, Will is watching a train video that my dad emailed him and Nathan comes into the kitchen. He wants to "see" what's cookin'. So I pick him up and show him everything. Whew! Ok, this kid needs a diaper change! Run, take care of that, wash hands, and back to the stuff on the stove. Three minutes later, Witt begins to act up. I pick him up show him what's cookin' and... whew! This kid needs a diaper change! Run, take care of that, wash hands, back to the stuff on the stove.

As I'm cooking, I decide to also make some spaghetti because Will has been asking for it for three days now and I know there is going to be a struggle over what I am currently making. So, I start the mushroom soup for the spaghetti (yes, mushroom soup for spaghetti). While I'm whisking away at this, I hear Nathan crying far off: "Waaaaa". I can't leave this on the stove, it will scorch, so I let him cry for a bit thinking he'll get over it and move on. Nope. More crying. "Nathan, come to mama!" More crying. I finally decide to run and find him. He's not in the sun room. Not in his room. He's in the bathroom. I open the door. All I see is hands, feet, and a head sticking out of the toilet!!! Fully clothed, he has fallen in butt first! I laughed so hard. I thought about taking a picture, but he was crying and looked pretty cramped in there, plus I had soup on the stove, so I didn't. I just helped him out, washed him down, changed his diaper , changed his clothes and ran back to the kitchen. Everything is good. Finish up the spaghetti and relax. If I can just keep up this exercise routine I'll lose another 5 pounds (and my sanity)!

Jeff arrives home and we eat.

After supper we make a new dessert. It requires tofu and orange zest. Jeff asks if he can help with anything and I tell him that I need him to zest the orange. "Take this tool and scratch the skin of the orange." He looks at me the same way as when he found out that I put cream of mushroom soup in his spaghetti sauce (which happens to be his mother's recipe - and once he learned that, of course it was A.O.K. *wink wink*). Anyway, back to the zest. He starts the zesting and tells me he doesn't know if he's going to try this dessert or not. "Oh, please!" I say very dramatically. (Give me a break!) We throw all the ingredients in blender and voila - frothy orange dessert. The kids and I drink it up! And, yes, Jeff has some, too. It's pretty good, but would taste better with some vanilla ice cream thrown in (of course). It's definitely as dessert we'll do again.

After dessert, I recount the whole Nathan in the toilet incident to Jeff. His first response? "Please tell me you took a picture..."

Tiny Talk

Will had said the other day that he wanted to get rid of Nathan because he messes up the train tracks in his room. I told him that we don't get rid of people; Nathan is here to stay. He accepted that and we moved on with our day.

A few days later, Jeff says in a joking manner that we're going to sell one of the kids. Will suggests it be Nathan.

Jeff chuckling says, "No, I think it should be you. I think we should put a 5 cent sticker on your forehead."

I join in and ask Will, "Are you worth a nickel?"

Will says, "No!"

Jeff replies with, "Okay, we'll put a 1 cent sticker on your forehead. Surely you are worth a penny?"

Will replies with, "No, Daddy, I cause [cost] too much money!"

Jeff and I laughing in unison, "You sure do!" :)

Not Before 7 is hosting Tiny Talk Tuesday - head over and enter your Tiny Talks!

Monday, November 19, 2007

One Full Week Dairy Free

Five? What? There are seven days in a week. Ahh, yes, but I lost 5 pounds in those 7 days! Woohoo! I'm loving Dairy Free even more now! LOL! Honestly in the first few days I didn't know what to eat so barely ate anything except fruits, veggies, and a bit of plain meat. I will admit, too, that on about day 3, I started feeling very hungry - not because of lack of food, but I think morebecause of the lack of dairy fat. (Ever go on a fat-free diet and feel hungry even after you just ate a big meal? It was like that.) The hungry feeling subsided around day 5, I guess. I also must tell you that I feel pretty good! My body feels "cleaner". I do have more energy and just "feel" better. That's the only way I can explain it. (Plus who wouldn't feel good about dropping an extra 5 pounds?!! Only 12 more to go to my pre-babies weight!)

At some point this past week I got productive and removed all the items from my fridge and pantry that contained dairy. Here are the items from the pantry. The church food closet just got stocked! The cold items went across the street to the neighbors.There are a few things we will be keeping for the older boys, though. Nathan LOVES LOVES LOVES cheese! We'll keep some string cheese on hand for him, as it is his favorite snack. Will likes sausage for breakfast and he's very picky about it. We'll keep that for him. We'll go butter free on the popcorn and add our own dairy free margarine and the Ramen noodles are also a big hit with the boys for a quick snack. So, we're not 100% dairy free, but we're close. Witt won't be near those foods for a while anyway.

Also, after some more research on what to buy, I went grocery shopping for what seemed like forever; I was an avid label reader. Now we've got a kitchen full of good choices, I've planned this week's menu, and we're ready to try some new eats. Hopefully this week will go well with all the new foods.

Nov 19 Menu Plan Monday (Dairy Free)

I'm trying out The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook and a couple recipes from If they turn out well and we like them, I'll add them to my new recipe blog: Must Follow Recipes.

1. Beefy Rice Salad Sandwich

Orange Dream (whipped frothy drink made with silken tofu)

2. Bow Tie Pasta w/ Sausage and Sweet Peppers
Yellow Squash with Warm Leek Vinaigrette (not so great - won't make again.)

3. Beef Stew with Fennel and Shallots

4. Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Onions
Sugar Snap Peas with Fresh Marjoram
Mashed Cauliflower with Cream Cheese & Chives

5. Family Thanksgiving, I get the easy part:
Deviled Eggs
Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Great Value brand does not use dairy! Yippee!)

6. Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy
Corn on the Cob
Steamed Broccoli

7. Spaghetti with Venison Meat Sauce
Side Salad
Garlic Bread


This week's unplugged project assignment was "box". Hey, I've got a ton of those at my house! This will be easy! I gathered up my diaper and wipes boxes (I buy in bulk), went to my garage for some Southern Living at HOME boxes, and found a few others out there as well.

This project came in very handy this week as Will was home sick 4 out of 5 days. I brought all the boxes into the living room, taped them all closed and let them have some fun. Of course, they had to get in the big box before it got closed up:

Will enjoyed staking them. He was especially proud when the stack went above his head. He called it a "tower".

I stepped in and told the boys we were going to make a fort. Here's the base:

And here's the top:

It didn't last too long as you can imagine. It really wasn't tall enough and Nathan kept standing up in it. So back to stacking we go...

Oh, have I told you that we like trains around here? Check out this video of our "box" cars! We did this part on Sunday afternoon when everyone was feeling better.

Go to Unplug Your Kids to enter your box project and see the other ones. Join us next week for our "Thankful" project.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Walk to D'feet ALS 2007 Pictures

Just wanted to share Kim Kim's pictures from the 2007 Atlanta Walk to D'feet ALS. The final total for funds raised from her team was over $14,000!! Outstanding!

For more on Kim Kim, click here.

[Update: I've noticed A LOT of traffic to this blog for the pictures. Please, leave me or my friend, Kim, a message in the comments. It would be nice to know what made you search for the pictures and if you'd like to share a story that would be great, too. Just something that Kim can swing by here and see that sharing her pictures was important to someone. Thanks!]

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My New Recipe Blog

With all this new dairy-free cooking getting started, I thought I'd create another blog to house them all. I was wanting to create one of our family recipes and then turn it into a cook book for my boys when they were older. Now seems like the perfect time to start it! The recipe blog includes both dairy-free and dairy-full recipes. I've just gotten started, so there aren't too many already there, but I hope to add to it each night as I cook something new. I won't include things that flop, though! If you try something, please let me know! I'd love to know what your taste buds think!

Join me at: Must Follow Recipes

Explain the name? Ok, since you asked!

Let me start with, I love to cook. I truly do enjoy it! I love cookbooks and I love reading them. I love trying new recipes. However, I am not "allowed" to deviate from the recipe (at least not the first time I make it). I have had SO many meals end up terrible because I left something out or substituted something else or added an extra spice that just didn't mesh. I'm just not good at throwing something together... I'm not. I admit it.

My dad, though... boy, is he ever good at taking three nights of leftovers, adding some of this and that, and making a wonderful new meal. We kids always had fun guessing what was in the meal. He'd always just say "Everything but the kitchen sink!" I don't have too many hand-me-down recipes from my family because we rarely ate the same thing twice! :)

So anyway, give me a recipe, I'll make sure I have all the ingredients and I'll give it a whirl! Let me know if you have one you want me to try!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Was Here

There have been a few things that have happened recently that just bring a smile to my face. I don't know why, but cute little random things that my children have done make me happy.

  • Last night as I crawled into bed with my socks on, I felt something sticky on one of them. I reached down and pulled off a Curious George sticker that belongs on Nathan's wall. He was having fun with the stickers: taking them off his wall and decorating the rest of the house. I guess I picked one up along the way...
  • This morning Will and Nathan went to Witt's room after he woke up. Jeff and I snuggled for a minute until I felt a sippy cup in our bed from Will's morning chocolate milk. Normally, a sippy cup in bed would not be so exciting, but it just made me think about how much fun my kids are and that I really enjoy their company.
  • My cell phone was lost for a couple of days. I finally found it in a drawer. Nathan has been hiding things lately. It's kind of like a hide and seek that he doesn't even know he's playing. :) He's also hidden my shoes before. It's just a nice surprise to find items in funny locations!
  • More hide and seek: We couldn't find a DVD that my MIL borrowed from the library. We looked high and low. I finally found it in Will's lunch box! The case fit perfectly in there.
  • When my sister and niece were here, my niece was potty training. We haven't gotten around to putting the potty seat away and Nathan has taken a little bit of an interest in it. I was letting him run around the house without a diaper to dry out his hiney because he's had a bought with diarrhea. I found him sitting on the potty seat. He stood up and I almost got excited thinking he had gone to the bathroom in it, until I got a little closer and realized he had put his half-eaten hot dog in the potty!!! LOL! I laughed so hard, I cried! :)

I know these are normal, not so exciting things that all moms and dads run across, but to me they are more like an "I WAS HERE" stamp on my life.

And MORE Doctors Appointments...

At Will's 5 year old check-up I asked the doctor about him walking on his tip-toes. He's been doing it constantly since he was about two! He checked him out, watched him walk, and decided that he needs to see a orthopedist. In one leg, he can't quite get to a 90 degree angle with his foot and leg. He said the orthopedist may recommend physical therapy or just say that he does it out of habit and will outgrow. There is also the option that he might say that Will needs surgery to lengthen his tendons. I hope not.

Well, that adds yet another specialist we've seen this year to our list. Hopefully this will all blow over and the doctor visits will subside. Please keep our little family in your prayers for a very healthy 2008!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MORE Doctors Appointments

I thought I'd have a day without doctors yesterday, but Witt woke up with a draining swollen eye. (If it's not one boy, it's the other, or the other!) So, we took a trip to the pediatrician (for the third time in week). He came home with antibiotic eye drops for the next few days.

Today, I've already gone to the doctor for blood work regarding my low iron. While I was there I got a flu shot.

This afternoon, Will has his annual check-up (I'd say well-visit, but he isn't exactly well). And then later this afternoon, I have my (final?) TMJ appointment.

Tomorrow is looking good with a big blank square on my calendar! Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Scratch Test Day

Witt and I went to the allergist today for his scratch test on milk, peanuts, egg whites, and egg yolk. When the nurse came in, I asked if we could also test for soy as we are changing our diet to include it instead of cow's milk. Not a problem, yes we can... Great!

So she does the 5 scratches along with the two control scratches all at once. Witt hardly noticed. Wait 15 minutes and measure the marks. She tells me they are all positive except milk! What!?!! The blood test for milk had come back positive! She remeasures all the marks and replies, "Oh, um... well, let's do the milk test again."

Another scratch and a whimper this time. Immediately it starts swelling, so I knew it would be positive. 15 minutes later she returns and confirms that it is positive. She says that she must not have scratched hard enough with the milk the first time. She also tells me that after remeasuring the first set of scratches, the soy and peanut butter were not positive. I'm getting a bit frustrated at this point and ask her politely, "What is the possibility that you didn't scratch hard enough on those two and they are actually positive?" She asks if I want to do them again and I tell her I'd rather be certain than leave with questions looming.

Since we were getting ready to do another round, I thought I'd ask about gluten. I've read tons of stuff on the internet about dairy and gluten allergies so I thought I might as well check since it is a common allergen. Apparently there is not a skin test for gluten. The nurse gave me a lesson in gluten none of which I can remember now; however, they can do a skin test for wheat and I agreed to that.

So this time it's 3 more scratches and a cry from Witt. Bless his little heart (and back full of scratches). Wait 15 minutes... all negative. So with the completion of the scratch testing, we resolve positives for milk, egg whites, and egg yolk. (Egg is a common allergy for this age.)

The doctor comes in and she is super nice. She answers all of my questions. I never feel rushed or feel like I'm asking stupid questions. Here are the bits & pieces I remember from our conversation:

  • Because Witt never had a reaction to the dairy that was in my diet (I'm breastfeeding), I can continue to eat dairy in small amounts. However, she did tell me that the faster dairy exposure is removed, the sooner the allergy might go away. I've decided that I'll stick with a soy diet with the occasional dairy treat.
  • Witt should not have a flu shot because of the egg allergy; I should.
  • When cooking, the proteins in eggs seem to change, so I can eat eggs that are cooked in something, but not eggs by themselves. Witt, of course, should not be given eggs.
  • I need to avoid the baby food that contains eggs and milk. Apparently there is a baby cereal called rice & apples that contains eggs (why?!). I must read ALL labels (which I already knew).
  • 80% of children outgrow these allergies.
  • Witt should not be given fish, shellfish, or any type of nut until he is at least 3 years old and I should not eat those while nursing.
I'd love to hear from those of you with personal experiences with food allergies. Is this information similar to what you have received?

I'd also be grateful for some tried and true recipes that don't contain milk products and if you have suggestions for egg substitutes, I'd love to hear those as well. I can't use commercial substitutes because they contain milk products... see my dilemma? :) Thanks!

Tricks are for Kids/ Tips are for Moms

I've learned a few things along the way (and these are not about milk!).

I brought Will and Nathan to the doctors today because of congestion and coughing. Will also complained/cried about his ears hurting; he ended up with two really nasty ear infections. Nathan had a chest x-ray done, but it came back with only a little spot on the lungs and was put on antibiotics as well.

Tip #1:
Here's what I learned about earaches - give Motrin instead of Tylenol- it works wonders and it works quickly! This was my personal experience and the nurse also recommended it today.

Tip #2:
Something else about Motrin I learned about a year ago - don't give it to a child that is vomiting (I forget why, but the doctor give Tylenol instead to bring down the fever).

Trick #1:
I learned this from the Target pharmacist when I picked up the boys' meds tonight: Give the child something really cold to drink before giving terrible tasting medicine; it numbs the taste buds! How clever is that!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, only a mom. Please don't sue me if this doesn't work for you and anything written here should not supersede what a doctor recommends. (How sad it is that one must write something like this! Better safe than sorry, though.)

What are your Kid Tricks and Mom Tips?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Nathan!! (belated post)

Nathan turned two on November 6th!

He also got his cast removed that day as well!!! Happy Birthday to you!

We had a small family party here at the house: our family, Auntie "Rah Rah", Cousin Laylah, Grandmother, Aunt Debbie, Great-Grandmother, and Great-Granddaddy.

Nathan is currently infatuated with tractors. "Pa-Paw Brrrrmmmm", so I decided on this cute little farm cake:

And, boy, did he love it! We had put the cake in the fridge and the icing got hard. Good thing we did, because he took that tractor off-roadin'. (The tractor is under his hand.)

I ordered Papa John's pizza for everyone as I didn't want to cook for a crowd and I knew everyone would like something from there. (Plus, they have great deals when you order online!)

Just a cute little shot of the birthday boy:

Make a wish and blow out your candles little man!

Lick the icing,
and stuff your face! :)


Two tractors from Grandmother and Pa-paw (of course).

Wrapped presents sent from Nana and Grampa. The shopping cart and new Signing Time videos from Daddy, Mommy, and Brothers.

I wish I was on the other side of him to take that picture. He had the CUTEST smile on his face when he saw the shopping cart. The story behind the shopping cart starts with a trip to our new Target. We went just to look. Jeff took the boys up and down the toy aisles. Nathan ran across this shopping cart and just had a ball with it. When it was time to put it back, he had a melt down. Tears and a constant, "Me! Me! Me!" (mine, mine, mine) . Bless his little broken heart. I went back a few days later and got it for his birthday.

My mom and dad (Nana and Grampa) sent a fishing game and a duck game, along with a Sesame Street video on shapes and colors.

Time to load up the wrapping paper and take out the trash!

Last Night...

Nathan did some grocery shopping...

See his loot:

He had a great birthday! Love ya, buddy!