Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a long day

Eleven and a half hours later and I'm finally home. Parent/Teacher conference day is such a LONG day. I don't mind the conferences. And this day is certainly much easier now that I'm not part of the "parent" group. I can handle the "teacher" part just fine - but man! did this day take forever to get over!

For both of my boys, their favorite parts of school were recess, P. E., and football. Studying, reading, taking notes - all way, way, way down the list. And progress report or report card night was usually not a good night. As a matter of fact, those nights were full of stress and more stress most of the time. I miss so much of my boys' younger years - but I DO NOT miss the stress of grade day.

For years I would come home and have to talk to both boys about the grades. There was always yelling and usually tears. And after that I wouldn't be able to sleep for hours. Tonight there's no yelling, no tears, no missed assignments, no work to finish by tomorrow in hopes of getting partial credit. It's just me - and a big ol' glass of wine.

I should have tried this years ago.

Monday, January 30, 2012

a monday confession

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this. You are allowed to laugh, guffaw, smirk, and look down your nose at me for the rest of the night.

I'm sitting here on a Monday night watching The Bachelor. Truthfully, I'm so tired of the show. It gets more and more ridiculous with each season's bachelor or bachlorette. But it's like a bad wreck on the interstate - I just can't help but look.

And honestly, if I weren't watching this show over the top of the computer screen, Lovey would have it on some even more ridiculous episode of Pawn Stars or Swamp Loggers or Moonshiners. And I get so tired of those. Do you know that almost any time of the day or night he can find one of his crazy shows playing. And if he can't find one of those - there's always something on the Weather Channel. Really? I don't care what the temperature is in Cincinnati. Or that Chicago is experiencing another lake-effect snowstorm.

So on Mondays, I claim the remote and put it on ABC. The Bachelor is followed by Castle - which IS one of my favorite shows. And if someone makes a move like they might change the channel, I growl like Lucy when Jake gets close to one of her socks.

So be honest - what are you secretly watching?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

i need quiet - and coffee

Do you sleep late?

What do you call late?

What time do you consider the perfect wake up time?

My work day alarm is set for 5:30. I rarely get up at that time. It's usually more like 6:00. And I sometimes push it until 6:30 which is a little hectic because I need to leave the house between 7:10 and 7:15. And if I get up at 6:30, you can be sure that is the morning the dogs are slow to go out and even slower to come back inside.

On the weekends I usually wake up between 7:00 and 7:30. I rarely sleep any later than that. But I might as well be asleep. I don't get anything productive done. I get up, drink coffee, and enjoy the slow morning. That's why I set my work day alarm for 5:30 - I need a few slow, quiet minutes each morning. I'm just much less frantic if I start my mornings this way.

Those slow, quiet mornings are good for me, but even better for those around me. I'm much less stressed when I get my morning quiet time - which makes being around me much easier.

What do you need so that you are less stressed? A shopping day? A daily dose of daytime TV? Chocolate? An afternoon nap? 

Especially if you have children at home, you have to find your thing. And you have to find a way to get it. It will be better for everyone involved.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

one tried and true; one new

Thursday night I had a few friends over - actually I hosted a Silpada party. You know Silpada, don't you? You can check out an online catalog here.

I worried that the yucky, wet weather we have been experiencing would ruin the party. And for those that came - I can only apologize about the muddy road you had to drive down to get here - thanks for coming! Our road was worse that night than it had been all winter. Log trucks going in and out over the summer and fall, and then slow drizzly days of rain are a horrible combination for a gravel road.

My friend Carrie texted me that she was only coming for the appetizers. I hope she wasn't disappointed.  When planning what to cook, I knew that I wanted to do Cha-Cha Chicken Salad. I first made it a few years ago when I found the recipe in Southern Living. I love it. It tastes great and looks fanatastic - but it really isn't hard to make.

Sangria was at the TOP of my list. So I did some recipe research. I looked at tons of recipes. I found this site through pintrest. I liked number five, Grapefruit Sangria; although, I must say that the picture there doesn't match that recipe - a juicy red wine just will not be that golden color. I tweaked the recipe just a bit (who's suprised by that?). You can find my version here. The original recipe was a confusing. It's grapefruit, and the recipe calls for 1/2 of a grapefruit, but it only mentions adding the zest of grapefruit and maybe using grapefruit soda.

See. It looks nothing like the picture on the original link. It's rich and dark and red and oh so delicious. I'm counting the sangria as my new recipe of the week.

Friday, January 27, 2012

a modern day fable

I've been having a pretty great day. It's Friday. The house is reasonably clean. The sun is shining. I came home from work, did my 30 minute walk in short sleeves. Gave both of the dogs a bath. Put supper on to cook. And realized that it wasn't even dark outside yet.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. I may have even thought look at me! getting things done before it even gets dark!

And then I walked into the living to discover two piles of dog throw up on the rug.

The moral of this story: Don't get cocky.

Monday, January 23, 2012

country boy special

I've posted several times lately about trying new recipes. And I may have mentioned that Lovey doesn't always appreciate the NEW in the new recipes. In the twenty plus years that we have been married, he has tried lots of new things. Like camping. And wearing jeans that aren't Levi's. And footwear that's not a workboot. And a sandwich on something besides Wonder bread. I have broadened his horizon!

But every now and then, I don't push the new. After all, I don't want to change him - I like country boys. So tonight I made him a very happy man.

When he asked, "What's for supper?" I surprised him with the country boy special. Country fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, and cornbread.

It has been a very, very long time since I made country fried steak. I had forgotten just how good it tastes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

a cow's tale

Wednesday night Lovey came in for supper and said that he would have to go back out soon to check on a cow. She was trying to have a calf when he went to check cows just before coming in the house. For a while, he was able to watch her from the living room through the binoculars. She moved from nice high-and-dry ground to over by the creek. Then she just disappeared. He couldn't see her at all. He thought she had probably crossed the creek and was hidden by the trees. And then it got too dark to see from the house.

We ate supper and worked on a project then decided it was time to go check on her. We drove out to the pasture and found her standing down in the creek. She had tried to cross with a brand new baby. The baby had fallen into the cold water and wasn't strong enough to get out. Lovey pulled it out hoping that we had arrived in time to save it, but no.

If you've ever been around a momma cow, you know they don't usually like anyone messing with the new baby. I've seen Lovey do some juking and jiving to get out of the way of a few mad mommas. Well, this momma didn't really like it, but I think she knew that something was wrong and maybe Lovey could help. She was bawling and making all kinds of racket. She was shaking her head and stomping her feet. Several times she huffed and stomped right up behind Lovey. But she never even bumped him. She let him try to save her baby.

Saturday night just before dark, we drove out to the field to check on another momma cow who had been trying to have her baby earlier in the day. The baby was up walking around. The momma was up walking around.

taken with iphone -from a moving vehicle

But there was a problem. The baby was sucking the wrong momma.

taken with iphone

The momma who lost her baby on Wednesday has stolen a baby! The cow looking on is the real momma. And while we were watching, the baby never even acknowledged her.

taken with iphone
Animals just amaze me!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

this week's new recipe

Because I get bored with the same meals over and over, I have decided to mix it up and try a new recipe once a week. This week I have been struggling with just which new recipe to try.  Part of the deal I made with myself was that I would actually follow the recipe - I don't usually do that. It's Saturday. I hadn't planned on making a run to town, but this morning Lovey gave me spouted off a list of things he needed. I told him that I could make the trip because I still needed to decide on a new recipe to cook tonight. He reminded me that he wanted burgers which sounded pretty easy to me, and I agreed to cook burgers. But I still wanted to do a new recipe.

I decided on mushroom Swiss burgers. Not really a new recipe because I didn't have a recipe. But kind of a new recipe because I've never cooked mushroom swiss burgers.

I picked up the ingredients for the burgers. Lean Angus beef, cheese, Texas toast instead of plain hamburger buns, and of course mushrooms.

While Lovey cooked the patties, I cooked the baby bella mushrooms and red onion with a bit of Worcestershire.

This smelled so yummy while it cooked. Lovey melted Swiss cheese on the patties as they cooked. I mixed some garlic powder, chili powder, Worcestershire, and black pepper with the Miracle Whip for a spread.  And finally I built my burger.

It was huge. And so GOOD. I added a few of the mushrooms and onions on my plate. I just love mushrooms! Try as I might, I couldn't eat all of that giant burger.

So it wasn't technically a new recipe, but it was something new. Baby Jus loved his. I think this is one I'll do again.

I have to say Lovey didn't eat the same burger we did. He had cheddar cheese and no mushrooms and onions. Sometimes it takes a while to get him to eat something new. He's just a tad bit picky - if his momma didn't cook it, he has to work his way to trying it. Maybe next time he'll give these a try.

the twilight zone

Cell service at my house is iffy sometimes most of the time. I've been calling AT&T with my complaints since the summer. Other than an occasional credit on my bill, nothing has improved. It is very frustrating to not be able to complete a call and especially to not have even enough service to send/receive a text. After months and months of this, I've come to expect poor service and am happily surprised when 3G is available long enough to complete a task.

I realize that I may have a slight addiction to my phone. Yes, I know that I don't have to be available 24/7. But...

This week has been a challenge for many of us who suffer from ineedtobeabletoaccessinformationatalltimes addiction. On Wednesday, when many websites were blacked out to protest SOPA, my world was totally disconnected. Just before school got out, we lost cell coverage, land line service, and had no internet at all.

I actually had a student to ask if I thought the world was really coming to an end. She was certain that our lack of connection was related to the blacked out websites and tried to convince me,  you know it is 2012.

I was at a workshop on Thursday. Because of some glitch with the servers at school, I couldn't access my email. When I got back to school on Friday, the server was up but still no email. I checked to see that I could get on Gradequick, reported to principal that I could, then a few hours later when I needed to work on Gradequick - I couldn't. Seems there was some problem with the state's server.

Crazy that all of these disconnects happened at once. And it does make one wonder, doesn't it.

Cue music from The Twilight Zone.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

how you doing?

Did you read the title of this post like Joey from Friends? After years of watching that show, I can't read those words without mimicking him.

But really I want to know, how are you doing? It's the middle of January - are you keeping those resolutions? I'm trying to keep mine.

I've been doing lots of walking. I've even gotten up early and done some yoga before going to work. We had a few days of just plain old yucky weather, and I didn't walk then. So I'm trying to make up by doing a bit extra on the days that I have time. Today I went to a workshop and got home earlier than normal. I walked 45 minutes instead of 30.

I want to lose 5 pounds this month. I'm not following a specific diet, but I am trying to make better choices about what I eat. We'll see how it goes this month. In February I may decide to go with a specific plan rather than just winging it.

It's Thursday - I haven't made a new recipe this week. Who knew that coming up with a new recipe to try each week would be so challenging? The problem is that this week I haven't taken the time to do any meal planning. It's hard to cook new recipes when I'm winging it each night. Tonight I've got to decide on a new recipe for either Friday's or Saturday's supper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a beautiful day

How was your Wednesday?

taken with iphone

I was in a pretty good mood all morning - don't have any idea why, I just was.

And then this afternoon, I had the absolute best surprise. Several years ago I coached cheerleaders. If any of you are cheer coaches or know cheer coaches, then you have probably heard some cheer coach stories. Stories about the drama and headaches and problems of coaching a group of teenage girls. Those weren't my girls (and guy). I had an amazing group - very athletic, very talented, very dedicated, and oh so much fun. I often get asked if I miss coaching, and I have to honestly answer that I don't miss the other parts of it, but I do miss my girls (and guy)! Occasionally, one will stop by for a visit. Today it was Chelsi.

taken with iphone

She was a freshman when I took over as coach. For four years, she amazed me with her positive attitude, her kind heart, her work ethic, and enthusiasm for life. She is now a senior at UCA, and today I could see that those qualities have only multiplied in her years at college. She just stopped by for a quick visit, but I, as always, put her to work. For two periods she spoke to my students about her college experiences. The eternal cheerleader, she encouraged each of my seventh graders to begin now to dream big, to make plans and work to achieve those dreams. Now, I can say those same things to seventh graders all day long - doesn't have quite the same effect as it does when a beautiful, bubbly college girl says it. Then when I found out she was minoring in creative writing, I couldn't let her leave until she talked to my creative class. I put her on the spot, and she was amazing! Just like in all those years of coaching her, I just stood on the sideline beaming with pride while she worked the crowd.

taken with iphone

I was so blessed to work with such a great group of cheerleaders. Any day one of them stops by for a visit is a great day.

And then I saw this amazing sunset on my way to pick up pizza and salad. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

phase one complete

And it only took about three or four years.

A few weeks ago I posted some of plans for  projects I want to complete - have wanted to complete for some time now - and have finally made up my mind that they WILL get done. One of those projects was to do a redesign/repurpose of this dresser.

When I got it, I knew that I wanted that mirror hanging over my mantle. And with just a few changes, it's now there.

First, I had to guilt Lovey into going to get his tools - that was really the hardest part of the entire project. He easily removed the mirror from the dresser. And then carefully pried the braces from the back of the mirror.

Those lighter spots are where the braces used to be. And yes, he used that crowbar and hammer.

Then we attached brackets and a wire for hanging. Lucy Mercer wanted so much to help.

Once the brackets were in place, Lovey realized he had forgotten the ladder when he went to get the tools. I knew that he had but didn't want to tell him because I thought he might put off finishing the project. Next we had to install the hanger on the wall. This step involved climbing a ladder - definitely not a job for me. It scared me just watching him climb.

Lovey stood on the ladder while Baby Jus and I lifted the mirror into place.

Finally, it's just where I wanted it.

Those old spools were given to me by a dear friend. And those roosters were in my grandma's house when I was little. I have an idea for other things I want to add - I'll just have to hunt and gather them. Maybe it won't take me three years.

Tomorrow night Lovey has to remove the legs from the dresser so that I can finish phase two of the dresser re-do.

Linking up with
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training

Monday, January 16, 2012

dragon lady

Back in the summer, I found myself a sewing partner. At our first meeting we discussed sewing a dragon. We've made a pony and a fox, but no dragon. We had chosen material and even the perfect buttons for the eyes, but no dragon. I had hoped to visit during the Christmas break but never did. Today, however, was dragon making day.

We didn't have a pattern so had to make our own. We did have a knitted dragon to look at for inspiration. We drew a pattern on newspaper, starting with the belly first.

After we had a belly cut out, we moved on to the body. We had material that we wanted to use for spines along the back, so we worked on that too. The head was definitely the hardest part. We made wings and ears and attached those before sewing the body together. Finally, Emma was ready to sew the big pieces together.

We didn't finish today. But we did enough so that we could get an idea of what the finished dragon would look like.

Here's our dragon with a little stuffing in its head and the eyes just sitting - not sewn on.  I think it will be so cute when it gets some stuffing in it. Can't wait to go back and finish it up.

center of attention

Last Sunday we didn't have lunch at Nannie's. That insured a majority of the family would be there this week. But then Nannie, who never updates her Facebook status, posted on Saturday that she was getting a head start on Sunday's lunch and making spaghetti sauce - a crowd pleaser.

And the spaghetti was great. I love to walk into her house when she's got spaghetti sauce cooking. Yummm.

But it doesn't matter what is cooking anymore. The center of everyone's attention has definitely shifted.

We all have to get our Baby E fix for the week.

Caleb played a little football with him.

And then gave him some crawling lessons. This was so funny. Baby E tried to do just what Caleb was doing. And when Caleb put his head down and looked through his arms to see E, he tried the same thing and took a good roll.

Then Natalie gave him some pointers on making a basket.

Did you notice how the toys slowly multiplied and scattered around the room? We pass that baby around all day long, and the toys just move with him.

No one tell Nannie, but she could probably skip the cooking and just announce that Baby E will be doing his new tricks on Sunday. I think we'd all show up.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

so he thinks he's a hip-hop music mogul

So most of you have probably seen the commercial where the couple is walking across the parking lot, and the wife is jabbering on the phone about cornish hens then asks her husband, "Why isn't this working?" You know, the feel richer effect from having a certain product.

Well, Twitter and Facebook give me the feel richer effect. I just love when I tweet a TV personality and he/she tweets back.

A few months ago, Baby E fell in love with a Paula Deen's picture on a magazine cover. Any time he saw the picture, he would slobber all over it giving her kiss after slobbery kiss. I tweeted her a video of him giving her picture sugars. The next day she tweeted back.

Of course, I always tell Lovey when someone who is somebody tweets me back. I might even drive poor-twitterless-Lovey a bit crazy with my twitter updates. But this morning he got in on the TV personality conversation. And he now finds himself funny.

As we were having our Saturday morning donuts and watching Daybreak. Todd Yakoubian, my favorite weatherman, and Stephanie Simoni were discussing our mild Arkansas winter. Lovey walked into the room just as Todd said that he, being such a weather geek, would like some colder, snowier weather. Lovey almost broke his neck spinning to the TV to glare at Todd. Then Todd mentioned that he wanted comments on Facebook about the snow or not question. So I sent in this comment:

Michelle Walker Mercer my husband walked in just in time for todd's comment. he said, "did he just say he wanted zero and snowing?" i told him yes. he, who is sooo cold natured, said, "he's a dumbass." sorry, todd. he meant it in the nicest way possible - he just hates cold weather!

When the show came back from commercial, Todd and Stephanie were chuckling just a bit. And she teased him about not reading all of the comments when he was reading the comments that agreed with him about wanting cold and snow. Lovey just knew that she was talking about his comment.  And later on Todd did mention that there was a comment that he couldn't read on the air but not everyone agreed with him.

And now Lovey is experiencing the feel richer effect. And he went to work thinking that he was pretty funny. Should I make Cornish hens and endive salad for supper? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

crazy day

I haven't been feeling so great this week. Can't say exactly what it is. My sinuses are a bit snuffle-y, and my head has been really pounding at times. But then sometimes my head doesn't hurt at all - I just don't feel good.

When I woke up this morning, my head was pounding. So I took the day off. I stayed in pj's almost all day long. It was nice.

Several years ago I had an issue with not feeling good - but not feeling sick either. Finally one night I ended up in the ER with sky high blood pressure thinking that I might be having a heart attack. After a bit of nitroglycerine and a few tests, it was determined that stress was causing my problem. My doctor put me on blood pressure meds and some kind of happy pill. Once I got the stress under control, I was able to stop taking both meds.

Lately, I've been a bit stressed. Well, maybe a lot stressed. I think my not feeling good may again be stress related. Wonder if I have any crazy days in my contract?

Tonight, Lovey and I had to run to town and decided to get some supper while we were there. Easier said than done! We went to 4 places before getting a seat. The first had no parking spaces, and no room to get in the door. The second had a minimum of a 45 minute wait - it was already after 8:00.And people were sitting in their cars with the buzzers because their wasn't any room to wait inside. The third was closed. And the fourth and final place was out of desperation. It was a Mexican place; we had never been there. While we were eating, I noticed a large picture of a not-at-all-attractive young woman. Bushy eybrows and a bit of a moustache! I didn't have my camera, but I told Lovey that I was going to take a picture with my phone because it was definitely blog worthy. And then I forgot. Stress ruins my short-term memory.

Then on the way home I saw the most beautiful moon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

something new

Earlier this month I posted my resolutions for the year. Of course one involved losing weight. I've set my goal to lose five pounds a month. It's January 11, and I just weighed for the first time. Now I've got to really get busy to lose those five pounds by the end of the month. Crap!

And I resolved to exercise 30 minutes a day for at least five days of the week. Maybe I should just change that to four. Four seems to work so much better for me. Four it is.

So, I'm not doing so great with those two, but it's not all a fail. I have been cooking some new recipes. This requires me to do a bit lot more meal planning than I have normally done. But I've picked some yummy recipes to try.

Tonight I cooked a recipe from a Rachel Ray cookbook. It was a black bean soup (or as she says stoup) and monte cristo sandwiches. In all my years of eating, I've never had a monte cristo sandwich. Why is that?

The soup was pretty easy. Chop some garlic, jalapeno, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Throw these in a pot with some olive oil, add some cumin, bay leaves, a can of tomatoes, three cans of black beans, and some chicken stock. The recipe called for coriander. I didn't have any. The grocery store didn't have any. The soup didn't get any. Oh, and some Tabasco - it did get Tabasco.

One reason I chose this recipe is that my daddy and step-mom gave us some Harry and David's jellies for Christmas. The monte cristo sandwich needed a pepper jelly. I had a pepper and onion relish that I thought would work.

The sandwich also had turkey, ham, and pepper jack cheese. I dipped it in a milk and egg concoction that was spiced up with some more Tabasco, then cooked it like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Add a bowl of soup and it was a meal.

Tonight's supper was a win. Just a bit of chopping and the rest of the soup was opening cans and dumping them in the pot. And the sandwich was just a fancy grilled cheese. It only took about 30 minutes to prepare it all. And there's enough soup leftover for lunch tomorrow.

Any suggestions for next week's new recipe???

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

twitter funny

My exercise plan has been put on the back burner for the last two days. It's been drizzly, rainy, and yucky. But the biggest reason for no exercise is basketball. I've been to watch my niece and nephew play for the last two nights. And I'll swap watching them for walking any day.

Tonight Abby played in Warren. During the game I did a bit of people watching and saw something new. I had to tweet it. My tweet went something like this, i don't get saggin. i really don't get saggin in straight leg jeans.

I got a few responses. My friend, whose husband coaches there, cracked me up when she tweeted something like, so you saw the new jeans i got my husband?

Some nights twitter just cracks me up.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

big ideas

Do you have projects around the house that never seem to get finished? Have you ever brought something home with plans to do something GRAND, but the grand part hasn't happened yet? Please tell me that I'm not alone. Please.

Before we built our house, I was always picking up things for our some-day-soon house. I stashed everything at my momma's in the back closet (which has since become the wedding closet for the grandkids getting married). I didn't really have a plan - I didn't even know what our house would look like. I just bought/collected things that I liked. Knowing that I would somehow find a way to put it all together.

We did A LOT of the work on our house. All of the painting, staining the cabinets, installing doors and trim - and in the last few weeks I had a hysterectomy. So when we finally moved in, we were exhausted. Worn out. Drained. And not at all interested in doing any projects. And then just as we were recovering things got really crazy in other areas of our lives. We have done a few things - because we had too. When my niece planned to have her wedding in our back yard, we had to kick things up a notch and finish some lingering projects - like building some steps to get on and off the deck. But many projects that I had planned have been just sitting, waiting to be finished, or in some cases, started.

Projects, wait no more! I've been to Walmart and Lowe's, and I'm reading to get some things done.

Several years ago, my daddy brought me this old dresser that belonged to a great-grandmother. I knew right away that I wanted to make some changes. I'm not going to destroy the dresser - just re purpose it so that it fits in my house.

And this old cabinet I bought at an auction. It was part of the original home ec. cottage kitchens at WHS. When I bid on it, I just wanted to have a piece of the old kitchen. And when I brought it home, Big Boy needed a place on which to place his fish tank. Some place that would stand up to the wear and tear of a boy's room. And something that I wouldn't care if it got a bit of water damage. So instead of trying to refinish the cabinet - it went straight into his room to hold the fish tank and later a TV. I have decided that it is time to return it to it's original home, the kitchen. After a little makeover.

A few months ago, I got up really early to go thrifting with my friend Carrie. I scored a few good deals that day. One was this giant canvas and frame. I don't particularly care for the ballerinas, but for just 10 bucks, I thought I could do something with it. Haven't decided just what yet, but it's going to be fabulous!

I'm so excited to get started on these. And to find more.What projects do you have waiting for your attention? 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

letting my mind ramble

One of my 2012 resolutions is to exercise 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days of the week. This morning, I started the coffee, let the dogs out, and picked up the computer to click through a few blogs while I woke up. And then I thought, I should go ahead and go walking this morning and get it over. But then this conversation started in my head, It sure is damp outside. Maybe I'll wait on the coffee and then walk. No, I better walk early, looks like it might be a rainy day. As soon as I get the dogs back in, I'll go walking. No, I really want to drink a little coffee before I get dressed this morning. And then BOOM! The bottom fell out. We had a sudden downpour. The dogs came running to the doors - yes different doors. And they are wet - and stinky. So, my decision is to drink my coffee, read a few blogs, maybe browse pintrest for a bit, then do my 30 minutes with a DVD or the Wii.

Last night we went to neighbors to watch the Cottonbowl game. They had some GREAT food. Along with the usual ribs and such at a bar-b-que, they had grilled some fish brought home from a deep sea fishing trip. Of course, I can't remember what kind of fish it was. But it was yummy! Because the Hogs were winning, it was a pretty quite night until the 4th quarter. Then things got serious. Several of the guys got vocal in the last few minutes. There were a few calls that stirred the crowd. One neighbor's husband was really getting vocal. We were having a great laugh at some of the trash talking that was going on. When Lovey says, That's the Norton coming out in him. Someone asked Lovey, Have you seen that before? And I had to say, I think he got it from his Aunt Doris. The neighbor's husband is my cousin, and his Aunt Doris is my momma! And yes, Lovey has seen that before.

When I was trying to decide what to take to the watch party, Lovey and I were discussing recipes. I told him that I planned to try a new recipe each week. He chimed in that I could cook a hamburger each week and try a new variation each time. That is a big step for him. He's sort of the keep-it-the-same-don't-change-miraclewhip-lettuce-tomato guy. But this last year we have tried a few new burgers. And he has liked them. So along with the new recipe each week, I'll try a new burger each week also. Another night of what-are-we-gonna-have-for-supper done. I'm liking this plan.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

let the countdown begin

We have had some great weather here in Arkansas this winter. There have been very few dark, dreary, cold days. As a matter of fact, while we were out of school for Christmas break, I was able to run many of my errands with my sun roof open. And two of those days I sat outside in the sunshine to swing my sweet great-nephew to sleep at naptime.

But it is still winter. And we aren't on daylight savings time. And it gets dark so early. So very early. However, yesterday I noticed that it was 5:36 p.m. and still daylight. I just had to tweet my sister. I knew that she would be excited about that fact.

The temperature has been so pleasant. Even on days that were a little below 60, I could comfortably stay outside because the sun was so bright. And then, today when I had to return to work and have parking lot duty - 20 degrees! I'm not at all a cold natured person, but 20 degrees was a bit chilly for even me.

At lunch I checked Facebook, and a friend posted that we only have 10 more Tuesdays until spring break! Did you catch that? Ten. More. Tuesdays. 10! Sounds do-able for sure.

AND...I've gotten in a 30 minute walk for the last three days. Even though today was a tutoring day and I didn't get home until almost 5, I was able to walk for 30 minutes and beat the dark by about 10 minutes.

I was thinking this morning that I needed to put a countdown to Benchmark in my classroom. And now I'm thinking we need a countdown to spring break in the teacher's workroom.

Monday, January 2, 2012

my 2012 resolutions

Have you made resolutions for 2012? Did you make resolutions for 2011? I'm not big on making them, maybe because I know I won't keep them.

BUT....I've been doing some thinking, and I have a few for this year.

Like many others, fitness, losing weight, and eating better are on my list.  I am always saying that I need to work on these areas, but this year I've got specifics - and I think that will help.

1.  I will do some kind of exercise at least 5 days a week. Back in the fall, I started the C25K program, but I did something to my knee and had to stop even walking.  I've given it a few months to heal. I'm going to start walking and see where that leads. I think it will be best if I don't do the same thing everyday - I get bored and stop.

2.  I MUST lose some weight. I always set my goals really high and get frustrated when I don't lose enough. This year my goal is to lose 5 pounds a month. That doesn't seem like such a big number - just a little more than a pound a week. But I would be so happy to be 60 pounds lighter next January.

3. I hate to get in a cooking rut. By the end of each season, I am sick of the food I am cooking. This year I will prevent that by cooking at least one new recipe per week. This one sounds easy, but I'm not much of a recipe follower, and that's part of the resolution - I have to follow the recipe (well, sorta follow the recipe).

4. I've been working on a craft/office room. I will finish it and use it often!

5. I will spend more time reading Scripture and in prayer.

So have you written or made resolutions? If so, let me know, and we can help one another to stay on track.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

my jenga-is-like-life analogy

Our New Year's Eve was a simple celebration. It was bring-your-own-steak night at our house. I had plans to make a few niblets for the night, but you know my plans don't always work out. Saturday afternoon, I left the house to pick up LKN and Baby Jus's girlfriend, run by the store to get our steaks, and a quick stop at the pet store for dog food. The plan was that the girls would help with the niblets while I started things for supper. And we were right on schedule until I backed into a car while leaving the pet store. And then I had to find the owner, make my apologies, wait on the police to arrive, and file a report. My truck wasn't harmed at all. For the second time it was saved by my trailer hitch. And for the second time the other vehicle fell victim to said trailer hitch - it didn't just dent the bumper; it went all the way through it. (The first time, someone hit me from behind - totally not my fault.)

I got home just in time to unload the truck, put a bit of marinade on the steaks, and get the mushrooms and onions ready to cook before friends arrived. Carrie brought a black-eyed pea dip from The Pioneer Woman that was so yummy. And she helped with guacamole while I got the potatoes and bread ready ready for the oven. Clay and Lovey handled the steaks. It was a GREAT supper.

The kids played video games, watched movies, and played some cards while we played Jenga between the guys watching the moonshiner show on Discovery. Later, neighbors and friends joined us for the last few hours of 2011.

We played Jenga a few nights ago, and our record was 32 levels high.

Last night we got 36 levels, and it didn't fall - there were no more moves. It was wobbly, but it didn't fall. After admiring our accomplishment for a few minutes, we had no choice but to pull a block, let the pieces fall, pick them up, and start over. And there's my analogy. Sometimes we reach our goals, or we run out of moves. And what to do then?

Make a drastic, purposeful move.

Deal with the chaos that follows. And start to rebuild.

In 2012, may we all have the courage to make that drastic, purposeful move, even if means picking up the pieces and starting fresh.

Happy New Year to you and yours!