Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Love Story

13 (lucky 13!) years ago, 
I met a boy with an orange mohawk and tattoos. 
(My parents were thrilled.)

I didn't like him. 
He was kinda annoying and talked a lot.
When I ran into him at a party,
he poked me.
And annoyed me some more.

Then one night
I met a friend at the drive-in movies.
The boy with the mohawk was there.
We sat in the back of his truck and watched Shrek.

On our first year (dating) anniversary, 
he gave me a sunflower just like Shrek gave Princess Fiona.

On our second year anniversary, 
we rode a carriage through the French Quarter 
and went on spooky ghost tours.

I told him I was going to get married 
on Halloween 2004.
Would he be there?
If so, he should get to proposing.

Nine years ago today,
we had our spooktacular wedding:

See my skeleton bride and groom over on the left?
I love those guys!

Seven years ago,
we added a little pumpkin to our family:

And less than two years after that,
we added two more:

Now my pumpkin patch is complete,
and I'm the happiest girl in the world!

Happy Anniversary Keith!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Giveaway!!!

In honor of the paperback release of 'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (available for pre-order here), I was lucky enough to snag an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the hardcover version of this book! And I'm giving it away to one of my readers!

All you have to do is follow the prompts on the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

I was sick yesterday and didn't get a chance to hook up with Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. One of her prompts was "a pumpkin-inspired craft or recipe".

Two weekends ago, I attempted Better Home and Garden's Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.  I gave Keith the list of ingredients, and he ended up not getting sage and walnuts, so that topping was basically just Parmesan cheese.   And that's okay because it still tasted delicious!

Here is the recipe that I used:
  • 2 cups  dried elbow macaroni 
  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  whipping cream
  • 1  cup  whole milk
  • 4  ounces  Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 15  ounce can  pumpkin
  • 1/2  cup  grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.

2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese and pumpkin until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

3. Sprinkle Parmesan over pasta. 

4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Now this was a big hit with Keith and me.  For the kids, not so much.  Connor doesn't like mac and cheese anyway.  And by using the entire can of pumpkin, the consistency is a little thicker than traditional mac and cheese, so I think that's why the twins didn't care for it.  It wasn't the taste, but the texture.  Next time, I will use less pumpkin (maybe 3/4 of the can) to see if that makes it easier for the kids to eat. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Make Time for Detours

We had a busy weekend: Legoland on Friday and the firehouse open house on Saturday. Keith was gone a lot, and I didn't feel good. My plans for Sunday included the mountain of laundry and a week's worth of house duties that I didn't have time to complete during the busy week. I also thought I'd stop by the library, let the kids get a couple of DVDs and books to keep them busy, pick up lunch, then hurry back to the chaos I currently call "home".

Get books, get lunch, get home was my mantra for the day.

Once at the library, the kids were finding books and playing (the boys like to have a contest to see who can build the most blocks with these connector-things they have.)  I got my three books (Nora Robert's Blood Brothers trilogy for some spooky October reading). We got our DVDs, books, and a couple of CDs.  We were good to go.

Until the librarian asked if we were staying for the craft/story activity at 1 p.m.  I sighed as I looked at the clock. It was 12:30. The kids hadn't had lunch yet. I wanted to get home.  The librarian mentioned it was for kids aged 3-7, and there was a firetruck activity.  A chorus of little voices greeted my ears, asking if we could stay.  I sighed again, Okay.  But really I was dreading this detour to the plan that I had created in my head.

Keira picked out a book for me to read, and the boys went back to their building contest as we wait for 1 p.m.   Colin asked if we were going to be in the room off to the right. I said I thought so, since it looked like the librarian was setting out glue sticks and paper. He got really excited.  "Yay! I didn't get to do my dinosaur bag last time when they were in that room. And now I get to do my own craft all by myself!"

Back story: In June, we planned to attend the make-a-dinosaur-tote-bag event the library had.  However, Colin was hospitalized the night before so Keith took the other two kids and made a bag for Colin.  They love their bags and we take them to the library every time we go.  But every time he reminds me how Daddy made his bag because he was sick and couldn't go.

Apparently Sunday was the day for revelations.  As I listened to the kids chatter on about how fun it was going to be to make firetrucks, I remembered back to the night we had to take Colin to the ER and the doctor told me (mistakenly) that he would have to be admitted for at least a week.  My heart stopped at the comment from the ill-informed ER doctor.  She was not familiar with his condition and thought it would take at least a week for the meds to work on him.  A week in the hospital with the child addicted to his mommy? I could never leave! What about work? The other kids? His birthday was in 3 days!  Then I thought about how relieved I was when the pediatrician came the next morning and said she'd get him home that day.  I was so grateful to her and the urologist who were willing to work with us so we'd get to sleep in our beds that night.

Would an extra hour at the library on Sunday really be that bad in the grand scheme of things? The laundry and chores would still be there when we got home. Lunch could be a little late.  The important thing was that the kids were happy, and Colin was getting that chance he had lost months before.

I firmly believe that God puts detours in our path for certain reasons.  The morning had been dicey with the kids not behaving. Perhaps a little extra time out of the house was what we needed. I do have to say the laundry is still in a large pile.  The kids got McDonalds' happy meals (did you see their new Halloween buckets?!?!) and watched Scooby Doo while they ate their apples and nuggets. And I was once again reminded how blessed I am.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

How I learned to stop yelling at the kids...

With the kids in school, we've talked a lot lately about being kind to others. And listening when our teachers (and parents) talk to us.  The kids are pretty good with being kind, but it's the listening piece we've struggled with.  Lately I find myself yelling at them because they are generally misbehaving more.  They seem to be keeping it together at school; it's only at home that we've had a lot of struggles with following directions, picking up toys, not fighting with our siblings, and general meltdowns over random things (mainly due to being over-tired I've surmised). 

I've prayed for patience and to not have to yell at them.  I thought that God would answer my prayers by having the children behave better and listen more.  Yeah, it didn't quite happen that way.

Last Monday, I started having a stabbing pain every time I coughed. (And I was coughing a lot thanks to being sick.)  Turns out I have an inflammation of my cartilage under my breastbone.  I can't take anti-inflammatory medication for it - the only advice the doctor had was to wait it out. Once the inflammation goes down, the pain will go away. But to settle the pain, I need to stop coughing, sneezing, working out, and generally moving the right half of my body since when I move my rib cage, it bothers the inflammed cartilage. Since most of those things cannot be control, I'm stuck in pain for most of my day. It's really rather annoying since I still have to go to work, do my house duties, and care for the children. (And take deep breaths from time to time.) 

Yesterday Keith was gone most of the day.

The children were not behaving well

I yelled.

Then I cried because yelling makes the pain worse.

As I sat outside watching the three kids build a house out of leaves then kick it down with a soccer ball, I was looking up at the sky through the trees when it hit me.  

God answered my prayer to not yell anymore.

Just not in exactly the way that I had hoped.

It reminded me of the old Stones song:

You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes
You get what you need....

I forget sometimes that God always answers your prayers: in His own way, not necessarily the way you want Him too.  I have to keep reminding myself to be patient and wait this pain out (although the ability to be able to run would be nice since I have a race in 3 weeks that I probably can't do).  I also now have a fool-proof way to NOT yell at the kids (however, they still don't seem to be behaving any better...).  In a roundabout way, God is speaking to me... I just need to figure out what he's trying to say.

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need