Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy GratiTuesday!

So much to be thankful for this week:

1. Brent's company won a $300 Million lawsuit against News America this week. Hopefully that means that the marketing team can get out and sell, sell, sell advertising pages and Brent's schedule will even out a little bit. (Plus, if Valassis stock would increase a little, that would be great, too!)

2. Cooler weather! Not only is our air conditioner happy, we're happy since we've been hanging out in the garage pricing garage sale items after the kids go to bed. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a nice day on Thursday!

3. Are you ready for Brent's big excitement? He is almost beside himself that the "Fast and Furious" movie is being released today. He went to WalMart after midnight (in the wee hours of the morning today) to pick it up. Let me try and muster up some excitement here...ummmm...yippee?? Uhhhh...can't wait for popcorn and movie night?? Wait--popcorn AND Junior Mints?! Now I AM excited. (In his defense, I not only force him to watch "Evita" with me, but I SING EVERY WORD OF IT. I probably need to just watch Fast and Furious and keep my mouth shut. His day's coming.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wanted: A sense of decorating style

We had a great garage sale early this summer, and we've decided to throw together another impromptu sale to help a friend get rid of some of her stuff! As I've been cleaning out the drawers and closets, I've decided that my "style" has changed and I'm between styles right now. The style of our old house was quaint and "cottage-y", and this house doesn't have a style yet. I suppose it would be a "builder's-white-walls-with-nothing-on-them-boooooooring" style.

I feel a challenge coming on... Since we're living this Dave Ramsey shoestring-budget lifestyle, my decorating budget will literally be almost $0. I need to find ways to either re-utilize something I already have or find somewhere super cheap to barter or buy some great stuff. I have the tendency to look at the "big picture" and see a house with a completely blank canvas. I need to break it down into teeny tiny bits and start small. I said, I feel a challenge coming on. I'm guessing it will be the little breakfast nook first, because I need to get some super-scrubbable paint on the walls in there. I'm tired of unsuccessfully trying to scrub ravioli and oatmeal off of low-grade builder's white paint in there. Sooooo....let's think this out. I'll need:

  1. Paint (2 shades--one for the small window area and one for the main walls...there's no good stopping point, so the color will have to flow into the living room)
  2. 3 mini-blinds (ours have entire slats missing from 3 tazmanian devils)
  3. Curtains or valances

Any thoughts on where to get paint inexpensively? I could totally make my own valances...I need to find a fun fabric to add some pizazz. I'd love to find some fabric on clearance or at a garage sale...but it has to be something fairly "busy" to hide the ravioli splatters. Ick.

Now I'm getting excited!! After next week's garage sale, I'm tackling this project! Thanks for letting me talk it out with you... :-) I'll post "before" pictures soon so you can help keep me motivated.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy GratiTuesday!

This week we're grateful for Dad and Louise's visit this weekend! Dad shipped Brent the part for the refrigerator and Brent was able to get it installed before they got here. That left plenty of time for them to work on the air conditioner when Dad and Louise were here! The fins are badly damaged and it needed a dose of freon, so Brent and Dad tackled that Sunday afternoon. Hopefully that will help with our sky-high electric bills!

After they finished their project, we had plenty of time to share a Tippins apple pie that Louise brought. I miss Tippins! Yummy pies! Sorry for the second picture...Graham's mouth is full of apple pie. :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Kelly sent this story to me today--I hope you get as much of a chuckle out of it as I did!!


An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: 'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?'

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Happy GratiTuesday!

The first thing I'm grateful for this week is that my dad is so knowledgeable and helpful about refrigerators and heating/cooling. We're having problems with BOTH this week, and he's been able to guide us over the phone to "bandage" the problems until the parts arrive.

The second thing I'm grateful for this week (I should warn you in advance, some of the things on my GratiTuesday lists might seem a little "small" to some people) is my toaster oven!! Whenever I turn on the regular oven it heats up the whole house for the entire night and the air conditioner runs all evening to catch up. I picked up a book from the library with recipes that are "toaster oven friendly", which will be a good resource. I made this dish the other night, and it was a huge hit!


1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated jumbo biscuit dough
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained

Place biscuits in greased muffin cups, pressing dough over the bottom and up the sides. Add 1 tablespoon cheese to each cup.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, soup and broccoli; spoon into cups. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and biscuit is browned. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Graham's hospital pictures

Some cute pictures of Graham before his surgery! Kelly and Patti were entertaining Graham while we waited. I would have gone crazy without them there!

Graham had a little trouble in recovery from the anesthesia, so they had to do a couple of breathing treatments and give him some steroids in his IV. We spent quite a bit of time in recovery, then they moved us to the pediatric recovery to monitor his breathing.
Some cute pictures of the little guy sleeping in recovery:

Kelly and I thought we might never leave that hospital! I picked her up at 4:40am and dropped her off at her house at 4:40pm. What a friend!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Today is our friend Becky's 50th birthday!!


Looking forward to brunch on Thursday!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Update on Graham!!!

We just got home from a LONG day at the hospital, and wanted to quickly share the great news!!
More tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy GratiTuesday!

I heard the term "GratiTuesday" on another blog, and am stealing it! It gives me a chance to tell you what we're most grateful for this week. I'm a believer that if you don't write down the small (but really great) things going on in your life, you forget them.

Tomorrow morning is Graham's surgery. They're putting in the new ear tubes, and while he's under sedation an audiology team will do a "brainstem auditory test" to see how extreme his hearing loss is. The things I'm most grateful for on the eve of his surgery are this:

1. My friend Christy is a speech pathologist and has given me incredible encouragement and coaching on what to do for a child with hearing loss/delayed speech. I feel more prepared for possible outcomes because of her.

2. One of our nannies is studying to be a speech pathologist, and one of our nannies is studying to be a nurse. It is NOT a coincidence that God put these girls in our lives. He's built a specialized support network around us without us even realizing it.

3. We have amazing friends who have prayed with me for Graham or offered to help.

4. My friend Kelly is coming to the hospital with me so I don't have to sit alone while he's in surgery.

Wow! Pretty great stuff, huh?! It's good to be us.

I'd love to hear what's on your "GratiTuesday" list!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

We had our annual "Patriot's Day Parade" in our neighborhood this morning for the kids. Huge turnout this year! The fire department came to lead it, and the kids seemed to have a great time. There was a pool party afterwards and our three were NOT happy when it was time to go. They love swimming! Thankfully we had a lot of extra hands--Gina, Kelly, Aaron, Becky, Devin and Sydney came to help out!

The fourth car of the wagon had a boombox (remember the term "boombox"?! Jeez, that makes me feel old...), which we brought along to play parade marching music. I found a bunch of great patriotic marching music and burned a CD. I was stoked! Then we found out the music stopped when the wagon was moving because of the vibration...BUMMER!! If you'd like to hear some patriotic marching music, though, feel free to call me and I'll play it for you. :-) Too bad I'm not more tech-y...I'd add a playlist to this post.

Above is our friend Gina from Missouri. Brent's known her since she was born, and now she's moved to Winfield! We're thrilled to have her so close!

Kelly had to distract Blake with a popsicle. He was NOT happy when it was time to get dressed after swimming.

The boys on the frog at the swimming pool!

Devin and Sydney were our neighbors at our old house. We'd give anything to have them living next door to us now! The kids LOVE them.

Kelly's son Aaron and his girlfriend Becky. Becky is one of our valuable babysitters!!

Tonight we're heading to our friends' house for dinner and fireworks, but might have to leave before the "big" fireworks get started. I might be surprised, though--the kids might like fireworks more than I'm expecting! (Oh heck...I just realized we didn't BUY any fireworks to share tonight...I'm off to find a fireworks tent! That shouldn't be hard!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waffle Vultures

Can't a guy eat a waffle in peace?! Apparently not. (In their defense, they are homemade waffles, so who can blame them?!)

One of the funny things about the above picture is that Blake is wearing pink princess Pullups! He shows an interest in potty training, but the pink Pullups we have are the ones with "cool alert" which gets chilly when wet. The blue Pullups don't have that feature, and I thought it might help him get the "wet" sensation. So, Sophie wears the blue Pullups when we leave the house since she doesn't need the "cool alert" anymore. Even funnier is before this picture was taken, I had both Blake and Graham running around in Sophie's Elmo panties...DOES THIS HAVE GENDER IDENTITY ISSUE WRITTEN ALL OVER IT?! Call SRS--my mothering skills need some sharpening!

On the way home from work today, I ran by the bread outlet store and picked up the following:

12 loaves of Sara Lee Soft & Smooth bread AND a bag of 6 "deli" blueberry bagels...all for $10.62! The bread was on sale for $.75/loaf! (As a comparison, Iron Kids bread was on sale for $1/loaf--which is SUPER cheap, too.) We love this bread, but I'm lucky to find it at the grocery store for $2/loaf. We go through almost a loaf each day, so I put loaves in the deep freeze and pull out a new loaf each day. They freeze perfectly (double bag them and get as much air out as you can--you'll never even know they were frozen)! Super deal, eh?! If you have a bread store near you, I highly recommend checking it out.